Saturday, July 11, 2020

Unity JFL canceled this fall

Nine days before the start of the Unity Junior Football League program's first practice, league commissioner Jeff Purcell announced on Facebook the 2020 season was officially canceled.

"It was in our best interest to cancel the season due to the COVID pandemic," Purcell told group members. "It was a tough decision and most teams wanted to play, but as the new restrictions came out from the IHSA earlier this past week more and more teams were changing their minds and reversing course.

"Honestly, I don't blame them after reading emails from most of them this morning after the decision last night," he added saying it was not an easy decision. "We did the right thing!!"

Purcell indicated that the league administrators are looking at the possibility of reviving the youth football program this spring.

Champaign County has recorded 1,017 positive cases out of 42.214 tests for the Coronavirus since it began tracking the infection rate in March. The five towns that make up the Unity school district has seen 26 cases so far. Currently, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is tracking seven active cases in the area.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Senior spotlights with Braydon Rupert, Ginny Bytnar & Ross Booker

Ross Booker

Clubs & Activities
Football (1 year)
Maroon Platoon, FFA

St. Joseph

Older brother

@orking on the farm, landscaping, working outside, and working on motors.

Favorite SJO memories:
During his freshman year, he started FFA and it was fun for Ross to get to know everyone. Two years later sometime during his junior year, he started to consider playing football at SJO. He followed through his senior year thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. He also really enjoyed all of the FFA events he participated in during high school.

Favorite classes:
Into to Ag, Consumers Ed, Ag Mechanics, BSAA, and all of his FFA and Agriculture classes.

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. Olson, Mrs. Mathis, Mrs. Max, and Mrs. Schoudel at PVO and Mr. Shawn Skinner, Ms. Pensinger, Mrs. Katie Duitsman, Mr. Marshall Schacht, Mr. Robert Glazier, Mrs. Jennifer Brooks, and Mr. Don Beckett at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

Parkland College, majoring auto mechanics with an emphasis in diesel mechanics.

Advice to future SJO students:
Do not take senior year for granted and to cherish every moment of high school because it is a fun and fast four years.

Ginny Bytnar

Clubs & Activities
Marching Band (4 years)
Spanish Club, Spanish Club Leader, We The People, Drama Club

St. Joseph

Singing, reading, and hanging out with friends and family.

Favorite SJO memories:
Her favorite memory from high school is the Disney Showcase that she was a part of during her junior year. During her senior year, she really enjoyed the circle of memories band meeting for seniors this past fall.

Favorite classes:
Spanish, Physics, Economics, and all of her history classes.

Favorite teachers:
Mr. Dunn at St. Joseph Grade School, Mr. Risley at St. Joseph Middle School, and Senor Zak Sutton and Mr. Kevin Simondsen at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

University of Illinois majoring in Electrical Engineering

Advice to future SJO students:
Use your time well and to ask for help because the staff and teachers are nice.

Braydon Rupert

Clubs & Activities
Basketball (4 years)
Maroon Platoon

St. Joseph

Three older sisters

Watching movies, listening to music, and hanging out with friends and family.

Favorite SJO memories:
Playing basketball all four years. He enjoyed being a part of the basketball team, as it was a great family of players.

Favorite classes:
Intro to Ag with Mrs. Katie Duitsman and Algebra II with Mr. Kiel Duval.

Favorite teachers:
Mr. Duval, Mr. Kevin Simondsen, and Mrs. Stacey Kietzman

Parkland College majoring in Construction Management

Advice to future SJO students:
Be prepared and to work hard.

Text & photos provided by St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

2020 Unity Rocket football schedule unveiled

Unity players celebrate a touchdown in their 2019 home game against St. Joseph-Ogden. The Rockets went on to a 8-1 regular season finish after shutting out the Spartans, 20-0. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

This year's Unity football team will be well-prepared for any game in the midst of and hostile high school football environment they may find themselves in this playoff season.

The 2020 football schedule is heavy, and we mean heavy on road games this fall. The Rockets list just three opportunities in the first nine games for fans to fill the seats at Hicks Field in the schedule announced by the Illinois High School Association earlier this week.

Finishing 9-2 last season, Unity will not host their first home contest until September 11 when the face Prairie Central. Two weeks later, the Spartans of Olympia will venture into town looking for the win before the UHS goes into battle in three consecutive road games, including a long haul to Pierce City, Missouri, before senior night on October 23.

Anchored by strong, well-condition wall of linemen on both sides of the ball, head coach Scott Hamilton led the team to a 1-1 postseason record in the program's first Class 4A playoff appearance in school history.

Last November, Unity blasted Clinton at home with a first-round 42-14 victory and fell to McNamara on the road in Week 2 action, 31-6. The Rockets, with an enrollment of 550, will likely be on the 3A-4A bubble again this fall.

2020 Unity Football Schedule

Aug 28 7:00 Away Illinois Valley Central
Sep 4 7:00 Away Pontiac
Sep 11 7:00 Home Prairie Central
Sep 18 7:00 Away St. Joseph-Ogden
Sep 25 7:00 Home Olympia
Oct 2 7:00 Away Monticello
Oct 10 1:00 Away Pierce City, MO.
Oct 16 7:00 Away Rantoul
Oct 23 7:00 Home Central Catholic

St. Joseph-Ogden 2020 football schedule is set

Jarrett Stevenson carries the ball down the field for the Spartans against Prairie Central. SJO will face the Hawks at home on October 2 as one of four home games this season. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Things are shaping up for the return of prep sports to the newly named Glenn Fisher Athletic Complex this fall. This week, the Illinois High School Association has released schedules for the upcoming high school football season.

The Spartans kickoff the 2020 campaign with a road opener against last year's Class 2A state runner-up Nashville. The Hornets, who replaced St. Thomas More on the schedule, outscored postseason opponents 153-89 despite a 21 point loss to Newman Catholic last fall.

Earlier this year, the Sabers announced they would move to seven-man competition this season.

The trip to Nashville is the only non-Illini Prairie Conference matchup on the schedule. In 2021, Paxton-Buckley-Loda will return to the Spartans' schedule as a member of the IPC.

The program will play its first of it four home contests at Dick Duval Field on September 4 against Rantoul and will close out the regular seasons against Monticello.

SJO finished their 2019 campaign with a 5-5 record and first-round playoff 54-26 loss the Williamsburg. The Bullets, who crushed opponents from week one last August, finished the season undefeated with the Class 3A title.

2020 St. Joseph-Ogden
Football Schedule

Aug 28 7:00 Away Nashville
Sep 4 7:00 Home Rantoul
Sep 11 7:00 Away Central Catholic
Sep 18 7:00 Home Unity
Sep 25 7:00 Away Pontiac
Oct 2 7:00 Home Prairie Central
Oct 9 7:00 Away Illinois Valley Central
Oct 16 7:00 Away Olympia
Oct 23 7:00 Home Monticello