Monday, September 16, 2019

No luck needed, SJO tarnishes visiting Saints, 18-7

Jordan Kelly
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
St. Joseph-Ogden's Jordan Kelly runs through the team tunnel before the start of their home game against Bloomington Central Catholic on Friday, September 13. The Spartans, thanks to a stout defensive effort once again, won the Illini Prairie Conference matchup, 18-7. Click this link to see all of the photos from Friday's home game against BCC.

SJO press box under a full moon
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
A full moon floats above the press box at St. Joseph-Ogden High School during Central Catholic game. The Saints, who were held to just ten first downs and only 155 all-purpose yards, had virtually no luck in trying had the Spartans their first loss of the season. The IPC win improved SJO's record to 3-0 and sets the stage for what could be crucial road game at Unity as they step closer to postseason playoff eligibility.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
A flute player from the St. Joseph-Ogden marching band plays the school fight song before the start of the game.

Keaton Nolan scores for SJO
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Keaton Nolan is tripped up as he crosses the goal line by a Central Catholic defender on his way to scoring an SJO touchdown. Nolan ran for 107 yards on 20 carries in addition to scoring his TD for St. Joseph-Ogden.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Isaiah Immke cheers with fellow students during the second half of the Spartans home game. The victory put SJO in a two-way tie for first with also unbeaten Illinois Valley Central, who will face St. Joseph-Ogden here under Friday night lights on October 11.

SJO trumpet player
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
A member of the Spartan Marching Band plays during the halftime time show. The band performed their competition routine dubbed "Decomposer". See more photos of the band performing . . .

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
With Brayden Weaver providing protection, St. Joseph-Ogden's Crayton Burnett hands off the ball to Keaton Nolan during his team's home game against Bloomington Central Catholic. All three players scored once to lead SJO past BCC, 18-7. Nolan finished with 107 yards and Weaver added another 104 against BCC. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Friday, September 13, 2019

Volleyball team fought to the end in loss to Champaign Central

Jenna Albrecht goes up for a block
(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

St. Joseph-Ogden Jenna Albrecht goes up for a block against visiting Champaign Central. The Spartans suffered their second loss of the season in straight sets to visiting Champaign Central, 25-22, 25-20. See more match photos here . . .
Despite pounding 24 kills and an impressive display of resiliency against the taller roster of visiting Champaign Central players, the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball went down swinging in the non-conference meeting between the two teams 2-0 on Tuesday.

SJO led for the first 13 points in set one. After breaking a tie at 8-all, the senior led squad started to pull away stretching their lead to as many as three points over the course of next several exchanges.

However, Central would not let their host, with an enrollment one-third of their own, bully them for long.

"They had an offense that we were not necessarily prepared for. We keyed on some big kids we thought would swing aggressively against us," said SJO head coach Abby McDonald. "They picked our defense apart. They swung aggressively and they tipped well."

After yet another lead change, senior Katelyn Berry and the Spartans fought back valiantly once again to tie the score for the final time in the set. The Maroons buckled down to squeak out the win, 25-22.

SJO mostly trailed the start of the second set and finally clawed their way to their first and only lead at 13-12. The lead change was short-lived as the Maroons rallied back to 16-15 and continued to hit through the Spartans' blocks to a 25-20 finish.

"As a team they played excellent," McDonald said, complimenting the Maroons' aggressive play. "They really got us out of system and kept us out the majority of the night."

While the height disadvantage was evident, Berry said the team needs to find other ways to score.

"I think once we got down we kind of stayed down rather than getting (back) up," she said. "In future when we get down, we have to keep pushing."

Seniors Payton Vallee, Lacey Kaiser and Kennedi Burnett contributed four kills. Kaiser and Burnett tallied 10 digs in the loss. Another senior, Emily Bigger, had 23 assists.

"I commend all of our kids. I thought they fought to the end," McDonald added. "We just didn't capitalize on some of the things that we really needed to be successful."

The loss, when weighed against the level of competition so far, drops SJO's record to a quite respectable at 5-2.

"Its not time for us to peak yet. Let's peak when it counts," McDonald said with her eyes on a deep postseason run. "Our biggest thing right now is what can we learn from every match. Now we have to start making sure we are gaining some kind of knowledge no matter if we win or lose."

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Elsbernd, Miller Spartans of the Week

Week 2 Lady Spartan of the Week: Emily Elsbernd

Lady Spartan of the Week Emily Elsbernd

Above, Emily Elsbrend down the field in SJO home game against Urbana University High. On the right, she chases down a loose ball in this week's home match against Fisher-GCMS. Click here to see more photos of Elsbrend.

(Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Just a freshman, Emily Elsbernd earned a starting spot as a defensive player on this year's SJO varsity boys soccer team. What she lacks in size and mass, she more than makes up with grit and persistence when physically challenging veteran opponents for the ball.

"She is just a powerhouse out there as a freshman," says soccer head coach Dan Vogelsang. "A lot of coaches compliment her all the time. I look forward to when she is a junior and senior."

Honorable Mentions: Jenna Albrecht (volleyball), Addie Allen (cross country), Katelyn Berry (volleyball), Raegan Crippen (soccer), Lacey Kaiser (volleyball), Hope Rajlich (cross country), Jillian Plotner (cross country).

Week 2 Spartan of the Week: Jaden Miller

Spartan of the Week Jaden Miller Jaden Miller earn this week's honors after scooping up a blocked Rantoul punt and plunging into the end zone for the first defensive touchdown of the season. The heads up play and resulting score padded St. Joseph-Ogden's side of scoreboard in the 22-8 Illini Prairie Conference win over the Eagles.

At nose guard, Miller has 12 tackles heading into tomorrow's week three game against Bloomington Central Catholic. The Spartan defense has allowed just two touchdowns to the start the 2019 season.

Honorable Mentions: Kolton Batty (soccer), Drew Coursey (football), Payton Grimsley (golf), Brayden Grimsey (soccer), Lukas Hutcherson (cross country), Charlie Mabry (cross country), Coby Miller (football), Zac Seeley (soccer), and Sam Wesley (football).

Previous Spartans of the Week

Week 1: Jarrett Stevenson / Katelyn Berry

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Attention high school coaches: Help us recognize our area prep athletes each week. Please send game scores and stats to us for freshman and junior varsity as well as varsity games. Send game, race and match results and weekly stats to

SJO volleyball rebound from loss, knock off Oakwood 2-0

Katelyn Berry celebrates a point
Spartans' Katelyn Berry celebrates a point during the second set in her team's home non-conference contest against Oakwood. After falling 2-0 to visiting Champaign Central just 24 hours earlier, Berry led SJO to a decisive 25-8, 25-10 win on Wednesday. The senior hammered a team-high 10 kills and pummeled the Comets with a pair of aces. St. Joseph-Ogden will play its next set of matches at this weekend's Mahomet-Seymour Varsity Volleyball Tournament. SJO opens pool play at 8:30 a.m. and will play again at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

St. Joseph townwide garage & yard sales

Here are The Sentinel's listing for this weekend's townwide garage sale in St. Joseph, IL. Have a future garage or yard sale planned? Advertise your sale at no charge here: Sentinel garage sales.

St. Joseph Townwide Garage Sales

511 & 512 Hawthorne Drive
Dates: 9/12-14
Times: Thurs 4-7, Fri 8-4, Sat 8-?

Men's, women's & children's clothes, shoes, household & kitchen items, books, toys, and so much more!

2102 Chateau Dr.
Dates: 9/12, 9/13, 9/14
Times: Thursday: 5:30-7p Friday: 8a-4p Saturday: 7-9:30a

"Boys clothing, games, household items, books, Longaberger items, electric keyboard. Bigger ticket items will be priced. Everything else will be donations only! Lemonade and treats for sale as well."

612 Hawthorne Dr
Dates: September 12-13
Times: 9am-5pm

Baby boy clothes, baby toys, miscellaneous

703 Nottingham Dr
Dates: September 12-13
Times: Thurs. 4:00-8:00, Fri. 8:00-5:00

Men’s, women’s brand name clothes and shoes. Athletic gear- volleyballs, softballs, helmets, bats, sports backpacks, tee, cleats, basketball shoes. Housewares- lamps, office chair, curtains, duvets, body pillows, rugs, decorative items. Slot machine, Volkswagen wheels and rims, Mini Cooper rims.

406 Winston Ct.
Dates: 09-14-19
Times: 8:00 - 12:00

Tons of baby girl items sizes NB - 2T, infant shoes, toys, weight bench, bags set, women’s shoes, luggage.

615 N Glover Ct.
Dates: Sept 12, 13, 14
Times: Thursday 4-8, Friday 8-5, Saturday 8-1

Kitchen appliances, womens clothing, coats, jackets, puzzles, lot of Free stuff

Varsity soccer falls 2-0, Berry leads volleyball in loss to Maroons

Sports Book: September 10

SJO falls at home to Central
The St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team picked up their second loss of the season after a 2-0 loss to visiting Champaign Central.

Katelyn Berry led the Spartans with seven kills and four digs in the non-conference match up. Jenna Albrecht contributed another five as the program's record moves to 4-2 on the season. Lacey Kaiser buoyed the team at the net with three blocks.

The Spartans host the Oakwood Comets tonight for another non-conference match before heading to the Mahomet-Seymour tournament this weekend.

Second half slide nips soccer team
Freshman keeper Hunter Ketchum had six saves in the Spartans' 2-0 loss to Fisher-GCMS at home last night. Bunnies Ethan Kasper scored the only two goals in the non-conference contest. His second came on a penalty kick less than ten yards from the posts.

SJO had a plethora of runs that could have resulted in scores, but could not put the ball in the net on their new field at the Sports Complex.

"I feel like we just lacking one part," said senior Kolton Batty. He is optimistic about the rest of the season and the current record is part of the process of maturing as a team. "Its just mental. I know we are a better team than we are."

The Spartans drop to 1-5-1 and play Oakwood at the Cornjerker Classic in Hoopeston on Friday. Match time is set for 4pm.

Blackburn first at Oakwood Invite
Ethan Blackburn ran a 12:53.66 at Kickapoo to finish first in the Oakwood-Salt Fork triangle meet. Tad Pettit finished the two-mile course, shorten from three-miles due to the extreme heat on Tuesday, at 12:56.66. Brandon Mattsey and Eric Poe cross the line six-seven to round out the top four SJO runners.

UPDATE: This article was updated 9/12/19 with boys cross country team results.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Allen 2nd, SJO boys share 3rd at Cow Chip Classic

Sports Book: September 7

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Ashlyn Lannert runs to a overall 84th place finish helping the Spartans to a Class 1A fifth place finish at the 2018 IHSA state cross country meet last November. Saturday, the sophomore placed sixth in the Number 4 Flight crossing the finish line at 22:15.28.
Allen 2nd in her flight
Addie Allen seized a second place finish in the Open Wave race at last Saturday's Cow Chip Classic. She ran a 21:13.55 crossing the line just 10 seconds behind Unity's Lillian Styan.

Other top 3 SJO finishers at the 38th installment of the girls' side of competition included Kailyn Ingram and Hope Rajlich. Ingram ran a 21:34.64 in the Number 7 Flight race to finish third. Rajlich, who took third place in the Number 6 Flight, finished with a slightly better time at 21:32.93.

The girls team walked away from the meet in 5th place in the team competition with 28 points.

SJO boys finish third at Cow Chip Classic
The St. Joseph-Ogden boys cross country team tied with Paxton-Buckley-Loda with 33 points to finish third at this year's Cow Chip Classic in Chrisman. Last year, the St. Joseph-Ogden boys cross country team finished in sixth place at the Cow Chip Classic.

Both Charlie Mabry and Lukas Hutcherson turned in top 3 performances in their respective flights. Mabry finished the three-mile course at 18:13.80, a little under his career best time of 17:21.0. Hutcherson, a junior, clocked in at 18:47.50.

Monticello, with 13 points, edged out Urbana U-High by one point to win this year's team title.

Next up, the Spartans will run against Oakwood later today in duo competition and travel to First to the Finish Invite on September 14.

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Attention high school and junior high coaches: Please send game scores and stats to us. Send results and weekly stats to

Monday, September 9, 2019

Volleyball wins at T-town, soccer b'deviled

Sports Book: September 5

Volleyball team crushes T-town in straight sets
Abby McDonald's 2019 team battled to a 25-18, 25-13 victory on the road handing the Teutopolis (3-1) their first loss of the season.

Four SJO hitters collected six kills a piece in the two-setter.

Emily Bigger, Jenna Albrecht, Katelyn Berry and Kennedi Burnett were responsible for 24 of the Spartans' 32 kills. Bigger was credited with 25 assists.

T-town's Carly Michels had 7 kills and 3 digs against the Spartans. Kelsey Deters had 34 sets & 11 assists for the Lady Shoes in the non-conference loss.

St. Joseph-Ogden's junior varsity squad fell 2-1 by way of a, 27-25, 19-25, 17-25 decision. The Spartan freshman were unsuccessful in the quest for a victory dropping a pair of heartbreakers, 25-23 25-21.

Spartan soccer team suffers tough loss
After securing their first win of the season last over Schlarman Academy, the SJO soccer team drop their non-conference meeting against Bismarck-Henning, 10-1.

Mason Behrens scored the teams only goal as the team sinks to 1-4-1 on the season. Senior Zac Seeley took four shots on the Blue Devils but was unable to put the ball between the bars. Rookie goal keeper Hunter Ketchum saw 18 shots during his tenure in the box and made five saves.

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Attention high school and junior high coaches: Please send game scores and stats to us. Send results and weekly stats to

Change Log: This story was updated 9/10/19 with St. Joseph-Ogden stat leaders.

Volleyball bounces Cissna Park, 2-0

Lacey Kaiser serves for SJO
(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
Lacey Kaiser serves the ball during set 2 of SJO's home match against Cissna Park. Kaiser hit a team-high five aces against the Timberwolves.

In the time it would have taken to make quick trip to the restroom, have a five minute chat with an acquaintance in the cafeteria about homecoming while buying a bag of popcorn and soda, and then make your way to your seat, you would have probably missed a third of the St. Joseph-Ogden's home volleyball game against Cissna Park last Tuesday.

It took just under 35 minutes for the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team to power past the visiting Timberwolves, 2-0.

The Spartans rushed out to a 3-0 lead in the first set. Then, after a side out, rattled off eight consecutive points to go up 11-1 behind the serving of Katelyn Berry.

Berry, a senior, finished the non-conference contest with four aces, four kills and four digs.

Pushing to keep the game tempo quick and not waste time between points, SJO kept the offensive pedal to metal on their way to a 25-7 first set win.

"We have to get better every time we step out here," said head coach Abby McDonald. "We talked about how we are going to make that happen, no matter what their offense looked like, and stay focused to the end."

The second was nearly a mirror of the first, except with a few casting changes. Up 6-4, SJO collected nine unanswered points with Lacey Kaiser on the back line serving. She finished the night with five aces and four kills.

With their backs up against the wall at 15-5, the Timberwolves gave up another five points watching their deficit increase by 15 to 20-5. From that point on the two teams rotated scoring to an eventual 25-9 conclusion.

"I thought the kids handled that very well," she added, referring to the level of competition and the unusual schedule order on Tuesday. The varsity team played the first match instead of the traditional nightcap.

"I thought this opportunity to play first was actually a good thing for us because during the postseason you sometimes step and play the first match," said McDonald. "I told them to use this to our advantage and I thought they did a nice job of doing that."

Thanks to Emily Bigger, who had 21 assist, Kennedi Burnett led the Spartan offense at the net with seven kills. Payton Vallee chipped in another five.

Grimsley leads golf team at Viking Invite, SJO football 2-0

Sports Book: September 6

Miller's defensive TD buoys SJO over Rantoul
Jaden Miller picked up a high bouncing ball and ran it into the end zone for a needed 6 points after a Rantoul punt was deflected off one of their own linemen. The senior defensive lineman's quick action help St. Joseph-Ogden defeat the host Eagles 22-8 on Friday.

"Freaking awesome," grinned Miller after the game. "First touchdown ever in high school. It sealed the game away."

Less than two weeks earlier, he said one of the things he would liked to accomplish this season was to post a defensive score for the Spartans. Earlier in the game, his younger sibling Coby scored a touchdown on a 15-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. Jarrett Stevenson plunged into the end zone on the two-point conversion to tie the score at 8-all.

Jarrett Stevenson led SJO with 99 yards rushing on 19 carries. Coby Miller chipped in 39 more to the help the St. Joseph-Ogden chalk up just 216 yards in the Week 2 Illini Prairie Conference contest.

The Spartans will host Bloomington Central Catholic on Friday at the SJO Sports Complex. The Saints (0-2), who start the season with back-to-back losses, fell in a one-point decision to Pontiac in their season opener and dropped their second league match to Prairie Central, 28-21.

Grimsley leads Spartans at the Viking Invitational
Payton Grimsley led the Spartans with 92 at last Friday's Viking Invitational held at the Turtle Run Golf Course in Danville.

Riley Myren shot a 96 and was chased by Joe Acton's 101 and Jacob Kern's 106. Jack Robertson finished they meet with a 121 and Maddux Carter left the course after recording 124 strokes.

The St. Joseph-Ogden squad competed against eighteen teams for top honors. Normal Community, which carded a 305 to take the this year's team title, finished six strokes ahead of runner-up Edwardsville.

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Attention high school and junior high coaches: Please send game scores and stats to us. Send results and weekly stats to

Memory Monday: Boys and girls cross country team compete at Cow Chip Classic

Drew Knipfer runs ahead of the lead pack of runners
St. Joseph-Ogden's Drew Knipfer runs ahead of the lead pack of runners as they make their way long the course at the 2011 Cow Chip Classic. Knipfer was the only Spartan male runner to place number one in his flight. He finished the Number 4 race with a time of 17:15. Click here to see 180 photos of SJO runners competing at one of the area's longest prep cross country events in downstate Illinois. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Remy Smetzer runs the last 100 yards Two-sport athlete Corey Thompsen
Left: Remy Smetzer runs the last 100 yards of the Open race back on roasting hot September 3 morning. Due to extreme, unseasonably hot temperatures the three-mile race was cut in half. Right: Competing in temperatures near 90 degrees, two-sport athlete Corey Thompsen keeps a steady stride as he navigates the three-mile course. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan Alex Arteaga represented SJO
Maintaining his position in a pack of runners, Spartan Alex Arteaga represented SJO in the Number 5 Race. He completed the course with a time of 18:39, good for a fifth place award. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Cross country specialist Loren Brooks navigates the three-mile course Tessa Vowels runs her second lap
Left: Cross country specialist Loren Brooks navigates the three-mile course. The Spartan girls won the meet title with a score of 13 points besting Mahomet-Seymour in second and the Monticello Sages, who placed third. Right: With a look of determination and focus on the runners ahead of her, Tessa Vowels runs her second lap around the Cow Chip Classic course. Vowels finished second in the Number 5 Flight with a time of 21:58. See more photos of Vowels and the Spartan cross country team competing at the Cow Chip Classic here: 2011 Cow Chip Classic. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Spartan rule the roost, spoil Eagle homecoming

Jaden Miller and teammates celebrate a SJO touchdown
St. Joseph-Ogden's Jaden Miller is congratulated by teammates Brayden Weaver and Blake Primmer after he picked up a deflected punt and ran it in for a TD on Friday in his team's Illini Prairie Conference game against Rantoul Township High School. The Spartans rallied in the second half of their Illini Prairie Conference contest to defeat the Eagles 22-8 after their sixth consecutive annual gridiron meeting on last Friday. SJO improves to 2-0 on the season and will host Bloomington Central Catholic at home next week. Find more photos from this game in the SJO vs Rantoul Football Gallery. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Friday, September 6, 2019

Circuit court amnesty week starts Monday

Starting Monday, individuals with outstanding criminal or traffic fines and fees can catch a break and have a chance to settle a delinquent accounts with the County Circuit Clerk. For five days next week all collection and late fees will be waived for those who pay the amount due on their entire case.

To avoid collection fees and interest, those seeking amnesty must pay the total of the original court-ordered fines and fees for their case by Friday, September 13. Partial payments will not be accepted by the Clerk's office.

Payments will be accepted by mail with a money order or cashier’s check as long as the envelope is postmarked by Friday. The Clerk’s Office is also offering extended office hours at the Urbana courthouse. For more information contact the Champaign County Circuit Court at 217-384-3725 to speak with a representative.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Two dimensional Eagles will test SJO tenacity

The Spartans take their ground pounding touchdown scoring machine to Rantoul tomorrow for their week 2 of IHSA football.

The Eagles have yet to beat a St. Joseph-Ogden football team. If the pigskin rolls their way, and they are hoping to do so, it will make their homecoming weekend hootenanny just a bit merrier.

In their Illini Prairie Conference opener last Friday, the Eagles fell 42-20 on the road at Prairie Central. The Hawks pulled away in the third quarter, scoring three times to hand Rantoul their first loss of the season.

SJO defense stops STM run
The Spartan defense held St. Thomas More under 125 yards in their Illini Prairie Conference opener. SJO will likely face a much more physical group as they look for win number 2 this season. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

The Spartans, who put up 278 all-purposes yards on St. Thomas More on their way to a 36-8 win, will have their strength and conditioning tested, both in the trenches and in the secondary with the Eagles.

Rantoul Township amassed 213 yards, a healthy number, against by some accounts a postseason ready Prairie Central squad.

Up front on defense, Jaden Miller led the Spartans with nine tackles, one for a loss, against the Sabers. Brayden Weaver and Sam Wesley had nine tackles apiece to assist in holding the St. Thomas More total offense to less than 120 yards.

No doubt the trio will have their work cut out for themselves. Their leadership on the field and on the sidelines with the less experienced players could be a pivotal factor in the outcome.

The Eagles' primary receivers who include Colin Wilkerson, Bryant Shaw and Terhune, combined for six catches for 137 yards against the Hawks. Wilkerson, the number one passing threat, had four catches for 68 yards. Terhune caught two passes, one for a touchdown, and finished the opener with 25 yard. The receiving corps was good for 140 yards.

Utilizing their passing game sparingly last week, in comparison St. Joseph-Ogden passed for just 29 yards.

"Our assessment is we have to be better," said SJO head coach Shawn Skinner after their home game against STM. "The offensive line has to block better. Receivers have to run better routes."

He added: "Crayton (Burnett) is a good quarterback and we have to utilize him."

Burnett knows there are some details he needs to work on to put the ball in the hands of his receivers.

"Me personally I need to make better decision with the passing game," he said. "Once that happens everything will be fine. I'm going to work hard and work had on my reads."

Weaver isn't letting Burnett or the offensive line shoulder all of the blame for their passing game against the Sabers. In his mind it is a team effort to bring the passing game up to its potential, especially when you have a quarterback of Burnett's caliber calling for the snap.

"Obviously, we can clean up some things on the passing game but that's on the backs, too. That's on everybody," he said in his postgame interview. "That's not on the line. You can't really blame them for anything. They did a great job responding to everything that came their way."

In their previous five meetings, the Spartans have outscored the Eagles, 176-52. As members of both the Okaw Valley Conference and now the Illini Prairie, Rantoul has never posted more than 20 points against a St. Joseph-Ogden football squad.

SJO has averaged 35.2 points per game against RTHS.

Game time is slated for 7 p.m. at Rantoul Township High School.

Spartan work ethic pays dividends

Jarrett Stevenson carries the ball for St. Joseph-Ogden
Running back Jarrett Stevenson carries the ball during first half action. The senior ran for 173 yards and scored four touchdowns against St. Thomas More. See more photo from the game here ... (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Before the team played its first down, Chance Izard predicted this was going to be an exciting season of St. Joseph-Ogden football. If last Friday's 36-8 win over visiting St. Thomas More in their Illini Prairie Conference opener is an indicator of things to come, it looks like there will be no shortage of thrilling moments this season.

"We have a new group of guys and new chemistry," he said days ahead of the team public scrimmage. "We are all willing to put in the work."

After St. Thomas More's Eivory Shellman scored on a short 5-yard run for the first six points of the contest and a successful two-point conversion on a pass play, the score shock quickly wore off for the Spartans.

"I thought the defense responded so well after not preparing for that style of offense. Coach Watson has never really ran that offense before anywhere," explained fourth year head coach Shawn Skinner talking about early defensive miscues. "(We) hadn't prepare for that style of offense. Yet you saw, once coach (Bob) Glazier was able to rally them on the sidelines while offense had the ball, (he) corrected some of the missed assignments and it really wasn't an issue the rest of the night."

Skinner found some comfort in how well many of his players, especially a good portion of them with little varsity experience, buckled down without so much as a blink. Their response led to an 8-all tie before the first quarter ended.

"They just ran it. Down. The. Field," Skinner said, with a hint of pride as he recounted how team quickly fell into doing the jobs they had been trained to do. "They just went back to work. That's the response we wanted."

St. Thomas More's main issue was the response from Jarrett Stevenson.

The senior, who found his way on the field toward the end of the 2018 season, averaged an impressive 8.6 yards per carry against them. After his four-yard plunge and two-point conversion in the first quarter to tie up the score, Stevenson would entered the end zone three more times by the game's end. He wouldn't take all the credit himself.

"My line was incredible. My fullbacks were incredible," he said praising their efforts. "It was insane. It was the best blocking I've ever seen."

Thanks to the strong pushes in the trenches by the offensive line, Stevenson finished the night with 173 rushing yards. Four touchdowns and almost 200 yards isn't a bad way to start a last year of your prep career on the gridiron. It was a huge payout of dividends from his hard work to prepare for the season this past summer.

"He is the strongest kid on team. He works extremely hard," Skinner said while commenting on Stevenson establishing himself as the go-to guy this season. "He has an incredible desire to be successful. We need him to be that guy."

And there was the rest of the Spartan running corp that the Sabers could not contain easily as well on Friday. SJO averaged 7.5 yards per carry as a team and not with just the help of veteran seniors. Sophomores Coby Miller and Keaton Nolan saw varsity action combining 65 yards between the two of them on eight attempts.

And despite his number being called only three times during the 48 minute contest, Brayden Weaver finished the night with smaller numbers. His modest 38 yards and touchdown were equally impressive.

He said without Stevenson he wouldn't have been able to score on his 34-yard run on the north side of the field into the west end zone. After shedding tacklers on his way to the goal line on the play, Weaver dove the last two yards into the end zone with a St. Thomas More defender hanging on.

"Jarrett Stevenson will be in the headlines for his touchdowns and however many yards he had," Weaver said while talking about his scoring run. "He made the best block on the night on that play. If that didn't happen I wouldn't have got in, even with all the broken tackles."

Weaver also recovered one of two STM's fumbles while playing on the defensive side of the ball.

Stevenson, Berry are Sentinel's 1st Spartans of the Week

Week 1 Spartan of the Week: Jarrett Stevenson

Jarrett Stevenson Stevenson averaged 8.6 yards per carry in the Spartan football team's home opener against St. Thomas More. The senior running back was good for 173 yards and scored four touchdowns in SJO's 36-8 win over the Sabers.

Honorable Mentions: Mason Behrens (Soccer), Drew Coursey (Football), Brandon Mattsey (Cross Country), Eric Poe (Cross Country), Zac Seeley (Soccer), Brayden Weaver (Football),

Week 1 Lady Spartan of the Week: Katelyn Berry

Player of the Week Katelyn Berry Before the month of September, Berry led the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team with six aces and is second in the hitting stats with 26 kills. On the road against Mahomet-Seymour, she was credited with one block, three assists and hit six winners in the team's 25-12, 25-16 non-conference victory on Aug 31.

Honorable Mentions: Emily Bigger (Volleyball), Kennedi Burnett (Volleyball), Emily Elsbernd (Soccer), Jillian Plotner (Cross Country) and Hannah Rajlich (Cross Country).

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Attention high school coaches: Help us recognize our area prep athletes each week. Please send game scores and stats to us for freshman and junior varsity as well as varsity games. Send game, race and match results and weekly stats to

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Boys XC wins meet title, volleyball starts win streak

Luke Stegall runs to a sixth place finish in the Male 14 to 18 division at the 2019 SJO 5K. Stegall, a sophomore, finished in seventh place at the Doc Acklin Invite on Saturday to help the SJO boys cross country team win this year's team title. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
Sports Book: August 31

Plotner leads SJO at Doc Acklin Invite
Senior Jillian Plotner finished in third place overall at the 4th Annual Doc Acklin Invite in Paris on Saturday. Scoring points toward the team title Plotner, along with teammates Hannah Rajlich, Ava Knap, Ashlyn Lannert and Ally Monk tallied 34 points. SJO finished second behind Marshall, who finished the race with 28 points and ahead of Teutopolis with 98.

Plotner clocked in at 18:35.2 and Monk, the final scoring member, finished 11th overall at 21:11.7.

Other Spartan harriers running in the program's first race of the season were Hope Rajlich, Kailyn Ingram, Kendra Riddle, Hanna Eastin, Addie Allen, Malorie Sarnecki, Sidney Davis, Taryn Sexton, Teagan Miller and Izzy Sexton.

Spartans first at XC Invite
Brandon Mattsey and Eric Poe finished one-two to help the SJO boys cross country team to a first place finish at the Doc Acklin Invite on Saturday, August 31. Elijah Mock, Luke Stegall and Charlie Mabry were rounded out the top five scoring finishers to help the St. Joseph-Ogden place ahead of Marshall (second place), Cumberland (third) and Effinginham, who finished fourth.

Also representing SJO on Saturday in the race was Braden Clampitt, Lukas Hutcherson, Ethan Blackburn, Logan Wolfersberger, Taddy Pettit and Zach Dahman.

Varsity volleyball beats Bulldogs
Kennedi Burnett pounded nine kills and a pair of digs to help the Spartans to a Labor Day weekend win on the road at Mahomet-Seymour on Saturday. Emily Bigger was credited with 21 assist in the 2-1 non-conference victory. SJO rolled over the Bulldogs in straights 25-16, 25-12 largely due Lacey Kaiser, who played a solid defensive game responsible for five of the 20 recorded Spartan digs. After their opening loss to St. Teresa, St. Joseph-Ogden is enjoying a three-game win streak after improving to 3-1 in early season play.

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Seeley hat trick gives soccer first win

Zac Seeley dribbles the ball down the field
Spartans' Zac Seeley dribbles the ball down the field on a beautiful September day . The senior went on to record his first hat trick of the year to give the St. Joseph-Ogden soccer team their first win of the season. View more photos from the Spartans' 5-1 victory over visiting Schlarman here: Spartans vs Hilltoppers soccer gallery. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Nazanine Agassi)

Kolton Batty Aiden Cromwell dribbles the ball against Schlarman Academy
Left: Kolton Batty moves into position to head a high ball. Right: Aiden Cromwell switches ball direction to keep Schlarman defenders off the ball. (Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Brayden Grimsey battles for ball possession
Brayden Grimsey battles for ball possession on the Spartans home field with a Hilltopper defender. Grimsey scored the final SJO goal of the day in the 5-1 non-conference win on Labor Day. See more photos of Grimsey and the Spartan soccer team here ... (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Nazanine Agassi)

Monday, September 2, 2019

Marching Spartans play in Labor Day parade

Marching Spartan plays his drum

SJO horn player
Above, a member of the SJO Marching Band heads south on Broadway Avenue just south of Lincoln Square Mall earlier today. On the left, a member of the horn section chants with fellow band members on their march through the streets of Urbana. In addition to the Spartans, the parade, also known affectionately as the 'Candy Parade', featured floats by area unions, community organizations, politicians, as well as other high school marching bands. See more photos of the marching band from their halftime show at last Friday's home football game against St. Thomas More here: SJO vs STM football photo gallery.

(Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

SJO gets win under Friday Night Lights

Brodie Sullivan celebrates a St. Joseph-Ogden touchdown
Brodie Sullivan celebrates a St. Joseph-Ogden touchdown with teammates during second half action against visiting St. Thomas More. After giving up an early touchdown in the first quarter on a STM pass play, the SJO defense jelled into a nearly impenetrable wall repelling every Saber effort to score for the remainder of the conference opener on Friday. The Spartans went on to win the bout, 36-8. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Above: Spartan defenders Sam Wesley and Payton Cain tie up St. Thomas more running back Braylon Peacock for a stop during first quarter action. Right: Running back Jarrett Stevenson carries the ball for the Spartans for long gain. The senior had a huge opening night running for 173 yards, four touchdowns and converting three times on two-point conversions thanks to an explosive line on special teams. (Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
Jarrett Stevenson carries the ball for SJO

Maroon Platoon
The Maroon Platoon, St. Joseph-Ogden's student section, cheers the football team on to victory. See more photos from the game here: SJO vs STM Football. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

2019 SJO Marching Spartans
Members of the SJO Marching Band perform one of the two movements from their competition show routine called "Decomposer". More photos of the band's performance debut will be added to the gallery later this week. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Flag team members entertain spectators during the halftime show while performing with this year's marching band. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Senior Brodie Sullivan, left, listens to directions from head coach Shawn Skinner with assistant coach Ben Gorman and other players during a timeout. Skinner, a SJO alum entering his fourth season at the helm, picked up his 15th victory as the Spartan head coach. See the first installment of Friday's game photos here . . . (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Friday, August 30, 2019

Seeley finds varsity soccer's first goal

To say the the St. Joseph-Ogden soccer team is off to a slow start would be quite the understatement.
SJO senior Zach Seeley
St. Joseph-Ogden senior Zach Seeley makes a pass during first half action against visiting University High on Thursday. The veteran soccer player scored the team's first goal of the season. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Two hundred and 27 minutes into the season, roughly a little more than two and half games, senior Zack Seeley finally nailed the soccer team's first goal of the season. Unfortunately, the Spartans (0-2-1) needed another seven to beat visiting Urbana University on Thursday.
It wasn't an effortless performance by Illineks, who collected three goals in the first half and four in the second en route their 7-1 non-conference win. Despite the youth in their numbers this season, the Spartan defensive effort made their opponent work for every point they put on the board except for two successful penalty kicks.

"We have seven freshmen and four seniors. We still trying to find the right niche with who we can play where," said head coach Daniel Vogelsang. "We are still experimenting a bit and what better time to do that than early in the season."

Uni-High is a perennial postseason small school soccer program. Vogelsang's looked at the defeat as a valuable teaching moment.

"A lot of things went right even though we lost," he said. "One thing we are going to take away from this is a lot of ideas for training."

His plan includes ramping up the cardio.

"We know our touches weren't there. We were already wore out in the first half," he said as the junior varsity team battled on the new playing field behind him. He added: "It's early in the season and we are still trying to get all the nerves out."

Uni-High's Lucas Wood, who was one of five who scored on SJO, celebrated a hat trick after hitting a penalty in kick in both periods. His third and final goal came with just a little less than for minutes left in the game after the ball deflected off the hands of Spartan goal keep Mason Behrens.

Despite Behrens seven saves, four other Uni players contributed to their dominate offense effort against the Spartans.

"Taking a loss like this builds character," Vogelsang explained. "It is going to help us out later on when it matters in the postseason."

Spartan Tyler Sullivan shields the ball from a pair of University High players in the first half. The junior say 38 minutes of playing time in the non-conference match. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Seeley, who scored with 11 minutes and 16 seconds left in the game, took advantage of a late game substitution. When the Illinek keeper made a short pass to the newly entered teammate in front of the box, he sprung into action.

"He (the Uni defender) had a mis-touch on the ball so I stole it," Seeley said. "I saw the goal wide open and took the shot."

Seeley knows there is work to be done by the team before the postseason starts.

"We are really young. We are really stacked on juniors," he said. "We have a lot of you talent and have a bit of growing to do."

Sports Book: Bigger credited with 22 assist

Sports Book: August 29

Berry leads Spartans in kills
The Spartan volleyball team downed Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin 2-0 in a non-conference match on Thursday.

Emily Bigger was credited with 22 assists, nine digs and three kills leading the team to a 25-15 and 25-13 victory. Katelyn Berry notched nine kills to lift the program to 2-1 record. SJO will face a tough road test on Saturday at Mahomet-Seymour.

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Attention high school and junior high coaches: Please send game scores and stats to us. Send results and weekly stats to

Flashback Friday: Win clinches 19th consecutive playoff appearance

Jack Bock carries the ball for the Spartans
This #Flashback Friday goes back to the 2009 football season. The explosive Jake Bock is slowed down by a Carlyle tackler during the Spartans' home game on October 17. The St. Joseph-Ogden football team posted their 6th win of the season after a impressive 41-7 win over the visiting Indians. The victory clinched the program's 19th consecutive IHSA playoff appearance. Bock ran for 165 rushing yards and tallied two touchdowns for SJO. Click here to see all 41 photos from that game a decade ago. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Cody Bohlen kicks PAT
Left: Cody Bohlen kicks an extra point for the Spartans. The win was extra special and dedicated to the wife of athletic trainer Casey Hug who recently underwent surgery for breast cancer. Players' helmets bore pink ribbons while many had pink shoe laces. Coaches and staff wore pink shirts and hats to show their support. Donations taken at the gate and proceeds from the 50/50 drawing were earmarked to help cover treatment costs. Right: Bock takes a hand off from Blake Hoveln during first quarter action. (Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Huge catch by Dakota Hicks
Receiver Dakota Hicks leaps for a catch on the two yard line. The senior then stretched over the goal line to pile on another six points in the Spartans' rout over Carlyle that year. The Spartans went on to finish the season, 8-3. Click here to see all 41 photos from that game a decade ago. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Football dads get the field ready

football dads getting SJO field ready for opening night
Against the backdrop of a beautiful August sunset, Chad Burnett, Darrell Dable, Doug Wesley and Jeff Primmer work diligently on painting the school logo on the field under the football complex's new stadium style lighting Thursday evening. The dedicated dads spent several hours volunteering their time to enhance the SJO football experience. The Spartans, under fourth year head coach Shawn Skinner, open their 2019 season tonight against the High School of St. Thomas More at 7 p.m.. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

#TBT: Spartans rip Comets in home opener

Will Lindsey runs with the ball
Will 'The Flash' Lindsey easily shakes off a would-be Comet tackler while carrying the ball in SJO's season home opener on September 2 in 2005. After scoring 49 points in the first half on the Comets, St Joseph-Ogden went on to beat visiting Clifton Central 56-6. Want to see more pics from this game? Follow this link. (All photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Ryan Barnes the ball Jake Parke blocks
Left: Spartan senior Ryan Barnes, who most recently became a proud father, returns a Clifton Central punt. Barnes's game was highlighted with a 30 yard pass for a TD in the first half. Right: Jake Parke stands up a Comet defender while playing on the line during an extra point attempt. In addition to his special teams blocking duties, Parke played at linebacker and running back. The senior contributed 18 of the 56 points in the home win. SJO went on to finish the season with a 10-2 record.

Maroon Platoon back in the day
SJO senior cheerleaders pose for a photo with year's Maroon Platoon captains Matt Foreman (standing), Stacy Buck (front, left), and Abby Williams (front, right). The MP section had plenty to cheer about Friday night with SJO starting the season 49 first half point on the Comets. See more photos from this game here or check out all the football photos from the 2005 season here.

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