Friday, September 27, 2019

Cohen scores goal in loss to Bombers

Defender Cade Hausman, a junior, dribbles the ball down the field in the second half. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
After a 2-1 decision on Thursday, the St. Joseph-Ogden soccer team lost its 11th contest this season in a home brouhaha against Argenta-Oreana. Despite underwhelming crowd support undermining their home field advantage, the Spartans' effort was one of the best this season so far as a cohesive unit.

"It was the first night we tried a new formation," said head coach Dan Vogelsang happy with out the team performed. "We have enough games left before the postseason starts when we get this down, we're going to be good."

Other than a breakdown in front of the north goal with 3:15 to play in the first half when Argenta-Oreana's Landon Lawson chipped the ball past two SJO defenders and their keeper from 10 feet out into the goal, the Spartans were clearly in charge of the game's momentum.

After the intermission, Luke Cohen rallied the Spartans on a free kick to tie up the non-conference contest.

It was more of the same for the remainder of the second half as St. Joseph-Ogden player rotated in and out to familiarize themselves with field positioning.

Later in the period, Ethan Neufeld kicked at 20-footer into the south goal for the go-ahead and game-winning Bomber goal.
Raegan Crippen dribbles the ball down the field for SJO.
Raegan Crippen moves the ball down the field away from Argenta-Oreana defenders during first half action. Though 2-11-2, the Spartans are making improvements to prepare for a long postseason run. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks.

The new formation afforded Vogelsang's young squad more shots on their opponents goal. SJO took nine shots, three which were post bumpers, on the Argenta-Oreana's goal thanks to playing a more physical game.

In Thursday's game, players were not shoved of the ball and giving up possession as easily as they had in past games. The new formation opened up better passing lanes while simultaneously moving the ball down the field with support players in place.

"It was good to see teammates taking up for each other," Vogelsang added, hoping it will carry over for SJO into the IHSA playoffs where they will likely face the top seed in the first round. If their first opponent is focused on the Spartans' regular season record, he thinks his team could wreck havoc in their bracket. "I told the players there is no reason to worry about facing the number one seed if we get this down."

Brayden Grimsey
Spartan senior Brayden Grimsey keeps the ball away from Argenta-Oreana's Tyler Heldt during first half action of their non-conference game. SJO will host Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Westville in another non-conference match on Saturday morning starting at 9am. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Residential electronics collection event set for October 12

The Village of St. Joseph has joined with Royal, Sadorus, Savoy, Sidney, Thomasboro, Tolono and other communities within the county in supporting this fall's countywide electronics recycling collection event. Residents from St. Joseph and Royal are eligible to register online for next month's event on October 12.

To register, go to this link for the Residential Electronics Collection Event. Simply click on an available time and complete the online form.

Expect to receive your postcard within two weeks after submitting the form. For those who did not receive their postcard before the event or leave it behind, you can show your confirmation email/text on your laptop, phone or tablet at the entry point.

Eligible individuals with postcards may dispose up to four televisions of any make or model. Organizers do not consider computer monitors a TV. Up to seven items per postcard can be left at the event. Small items can be bundled or put into a small box and counted as one item.

Items accepted for this year's event include TVs (all types), computers, monitors (all types), printers, electronic keyboards, fax machines, VCRs, DVD players/recorders, portable digital music players, video game consoles, electronic mice, scanners, digital converter boxes, cable receivers, satellite receivers, accessory computer/monitor speaker, small scale servers sold at retail, sound bar, ink & toner cartridges, loose wires (e.g., extension cords, surge protectors, cables, etc.), microwaves, holiday string lights, all phones & phone accessories, digital cameras/mini cams, digital projectors, credit card readers, telecom equipment, uninterrupted power supplies (e.g., battery backups, chargers), rechargeable batteries, networking equipment (e.g., switches, routers, hubs, modems), external drives, and circuit boards. (Small items can be bundled or put into a small box and counted as only 1 item.)

The following items will not be accepted at this fall's collection: Stereo speakers (wooden, metal, or plastic), liquid-containing items, freon-containing items (e.g., AC units, dehumidifiers), white goods (e.g., freezers, refrigerators, dishwashers), small appliances (e.g., blenders, coffee makers, toasters), exercise equipment (treadmills, etc.), lamps, vacuum cleaners, fans, cash registers, thermostats & thermometers, light bulbs, fluorescent bulbs or tubes, smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, loose alkaline batteries.

The event will proceed regardless of weather conditions that morning. Thunder and lightning, rain, hail or snow will not cancel the event. Drop off may times may increase slightly and as in past events experienced staff members will keep the lines moving as quickly as possible.

The collection point is located at Parkland College, 2400 W. Bradley Avenue in Champaign. Participants must use the Duncan Road entrance in to the Parkland campus and then follow the signs. Maps will be provided on the confirmation postcard.

Visit the official website at for more information.

Spartans of the Week: Bigger and Ketchum

Lady Spartan of the Week Emily Bigger

Week 4
Lady Spartan of the Week:
Emily Bigger

Emily Bigger booked 38 assists in the Spartans' last two volleyball victories. Thanks to her precision passing ability and quickness, SJO boasts an impressive 14-3 record heading into tonight's homecoming game against Illini Prairie Conference rival St. Thomas More.

Honorable Mentions: Jenna Albrecht (volleyball), Katelyn Berry (volleyball), Kennedi Burnett (volleyball), Hanna Eastin (cross country), Ally Monk (cross country), Jillian Plotner (cross country) and Stephanie Trame (volleyball).

Week 4 Spartan of the Week: Hunter Ketchum

Hunter Ketchum, Spartan of the Week

The freshman goal tender has logged 483 minutes of playing time in his rookie season with the Spartans. With 57 saves so far at the keeper position, he is becoming more fearless by the week. From the start of the season until the Monticello match at the Cornjerker Classic, Ketchum was averaging 6.3 saves per game. Look for Ketchum to be one of the area's best in the box over the next three seasons with the St. Joseph-Ogden soccer program.

Honorable Mentions: Crayton Burnett (football), Braden Clampitt (cross country), Zach Martinie (football), Brandon Mattsey (cross country), Eric Poe (cross country), Jarrett Stevenson (football), Brayden Wearver and Sam Wesley (football).

Previous Spartans of the Week

Week 1: Jarrett Stevenson / Katelyn Berry
Week 2: Emily Elsbernd / Jaden Weaver
Week 2: Drew Coursey / Hannah Rajlich

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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 25, 2019

Wayback Wednesday: Walsh leads team to victory over Momence

Spartans' Connor Janes finds plenty of running room through the Redskin's defense during their Sangamon Valley Conference game on September 8 back in 2012. A year later, Janes and the Spartans would play in program's most recent state championship game appearance in a controversial Class 3A overtime thriller game against Stillman Valley. Want to see more? Follow this link to the gallery with 45 more photos.

Dalton Walsh rolls out while calmly looking for an open receiver.
Left: Spartans' Dalton Walsh rolls out while calmly looking for an open receiver. After giving up an early first quarter touchdown on Friday night, St. Joseph-Ogden rolled to a 34-6 win on Saturday. The game was postponed on Friday evening as lightning kept the game from restarting at a reasonable hour. Walsh threw two touchdown passes and tallied 201 yards in the air on 11 receptions. Right: Louis Acklin prepares to take a hit by Redskins' Austin Saindon after catching one of his four passes in the game.

St. Joseph-Ogden football fans on September 8
St. Joseph-Ogden football fans watch the first half of the game while enjoying perfect fall temperatures on Saturday afternoon. The home game against Momence, originally scheduled for Friday night, was postponed due to inclement and resumed less than 24 hours later. See more photos from this game here: St. Joseph-Ogden vs Momence.

Mattsey, Poe lead SJO cross country at invite

The SJO boys cross country squad finished 54th out of 63 teams at the Peoria Notre Dame Richard Spring Invitational on Saturday. This was a single division race with St. Joseph-Ogden competing against 2A and 3A large high school programs like St. Charles East, who won the meet, Loyola Academy, York and Carl Sandburg.

The Spartans were led to the finish line of the 3-mile race by Brandon Mattsey. The junior finished his run at Detweiller Park in 16 minutes and 42.7 seconds, just 18 seconds off his career best time of 16:42 and 12 seconds slower than his time a week earlier at the First to the Finish on the same course.

Senior Eric Poe, was the second SJO finisher crossing the circumventing the course four seconds behind Poe good for 198th place with a time of 16:46.

The next three scoring runners were Logan Wolfersburger (340th) at 17:56, Lukas Hutcherson (358th) at 18.05 and Taddy Pettit clocking in at 19:26, 409th out of the 446 runners on Saturday.

Meanwhile in the Freshman/Sophomore division, the young harriers turned a 27th place team finish. There were 53 teams made up of 359 runners.

The top five runners included Charlie Mabry and Elijah Mock, who ran sub-18 minute times, Braden Clampitt, Ethan Blackburn and Zach Dahman. Mabry, who finished at 17:10, nearly matched his career best to pace the underclassmen and Stegall concluded his effort at the 17:59 mark.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Down but not out, SJO stumbles against Unity

St Joseph-Ogden head coach Shawn Skinner
Spartan head coach Shawn Skinner talks to players after his team's 21-0 loss on the road at Unity.

"I thought our defense played stout. I thought that we had some plays that were designed to be good. We just had one breakdown here and there. Unity wasn't going to allow us any breakdowns."
Head coach Shawn Skinner

SJO fans wait for the game to start
On beautiful September evening, St. Joseph-Ogden fans fill the visiting team bleachers and wait for the week four game to start. A win victory would have kept the Spartans tied for first in the Illini Prairie Conference. The shutout drops SJO into a five-way tie with Unity, Monticello, Prairie Central and Olympia for second place.

Crayton Burnett throws a pass against the Unity Rockets

Keaton Nolan plays kick return for SJO

"We are going to learn from this. I'm a big believer you can learn as much from win as a loss. I don't think you got to lose to learn." ~ Coach Skinner

Above: Crayton Burnett makes a pass during first half action against the Rockets. Not having enough time in the pocket to throw the junior signal caller threw for 66 yards, completing 10 of 20 attempts.

Left: Keaton Nolan makes a catch while playing on kickoff return for the Spartans. Nolan was held to just 23 yards of rushing on offense after eight touches.

Below: Senior Jaden Miller blast his way past two Unity blockers while playing defense in the second quarter.

All photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Jaden Miller, senior, fights his way past Unity offensive linemen.

Fan takes a picture
A Spartan fan takes photos from the stands prior to the start of the football game against Unity. There will be a lot more photos of players next week as SJO hosts the Pontiac Indians (1-3) for their homecoming contest this Friday.

Brayden Weaver runs the ball
Sam Wesley yells instructions to teammates before the snap
"It was a hostile environment. We came out and gave our best effort. You can't fault us (for) that."

~ Sam Wesley, Senior, Linebacker

Above: Senior running back Brayden Weaver finds open turf in front of him during a carry in the first half. Weaver finished the game with just 13 all-purpose yards in the week four game against the Rockets.

Right: Sam Wesley shouts out instructions and adjustments to teammates before the Rockets snap the ball during second half action.

Below: Conner Hodge blocks nose to nose with a Unity lineman.

All photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks