The end of the regular season is here, and, like last year, seven local teams will compete for state championships.
Second seasons have begun for Sterling (5A), Dixon (4A), Newman and West Carroll (2A), Fulton and Morrison (1A), and Polo (8-man); while eight local teams have ended their campaigns.
Newman has qualified for the 19th straight year, and has for 26 out of the last 27 seasons. Sterling now has made it in for 17 of its last 18 seasons. Dixon has qualified for the sixth straight season; the Dukes had just five playoff appearances before that streak began.
Here are some more numbers of note from Week 9:
After 9 weeks, the area has just one athlete with more than 1,000 rushing yards and one with more than 1,000 passing yards.
Dixon quarterback Jacob Shafer surpassed 1,000 yards for the second straight year. He threw for 103 in the Dukes’ 62-21 loss to Byron, and has 1,432 yards in the air.
Only Sterling quarterback Cooper Willman has amassed over 1,000 rushing yards among local athletes.
Willman rushed and threw for 100 yards for the fourth time this season in Sterling’s 54-28 win over Galesburg. He has 1,054 rushing yards and 932 passing yards so far.
The area had either three or four rushers with more than 1,000 yards, and three of four passers with more than 1,000 yards, every year from 2012-18.
Newman closes the decade of the 2010s with just four regular-season losses in 90 games.
The Comets defeated Fulton 25-8 to improve to 8-1; the lone loss came in Week 5 against unbeaten Morrison.
The other losses came in 2011, 2015, and 2018.
Geneseo has lost 10 games in the last two years, and failed to make for the playoffs for the second straight year after a stretch of 56 straight winning seasons.
Prior to the 4-5 season before the Maple Leafs’ long streak began, in 1963, they finished 0-9.
That’s how many points separated Eastland-Pearl City between a 4-5 season and an 8-1 record.
The Wildcatz lost 22-20 to Forreston to end their season, which is the second 2-point loss they’ve suffered. They also have a pair of 7-point losses against Aquin and Dakota.
Riverdale scored 54 points to end its season at 4-5, as the Rams handed Bureau Valley a loss and its first winless season in school history.
The last time the Rams scored more than 50 points in a game was in Week 4 of the 2011 season in a 71-40 victory over Fulton.
Of the schools that consolidated into the Bureau Valley district, the last school to finish winless was Wyanet in 1985.
Overall local receiving yardage is down this year from recent years. The difference between the top total this year from last year is 272 yards.
Dixon’s Nate Long leads the area with 644 receiving yards after 9 weeks. Amboy’s Marcus Winn led at the end of last season with 916.