Seeley finds varsity soccer's first goal

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)

To say the the St. Joseph-Ogden soccer team is off to a slow start would be quite the understatement.

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."

Tyler Sullivan works magic on the ball to keep it away from Uni-High
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

Dads of players on the 2019 football team paint the field for the opening game.
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)

#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.

Sjuts, Schlueter named to Chancellor's Scholars Program at U of I

University of Illinois freshmen Abigail Schlueter and Rylee Sjuts were two of 159 underclassmen designated Chancellor’s Scholars in the Campus Honors Program this fall. Selected on the basis of their academic excellence and leadership potential, the newly minted St. Joseph-Ogden graduates will participate in small-enrollment honors classes and various academic seminars on campus.

Class president Rylee Sjuts address SJO Class of 2019 at this year's commencement ceremony. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
After learning she was accepted initially into the Campus Honors Program - which was the deal maker for her - Sjuts, with several options to choose from, picked the U of I. When she found out she was accepted into the Scholar's program she said she felt honored.

The Campus Honors Program is a four-year general studies program open to undergraduates in any curriculum. CHP is a highly selective program that admits approximately 125 freshmen each year from the more than 7,000 students attending classes at the university. Chancellor's Scholars develop their own curriculum from regular and challenging CHP courses.

"At first I was like 'Wow, this is awesome'," she said. "Once I learned about the benefits, like smaller classes, I thought I was very lucky that I get to be a part of it."

This fall she in taking an honors economics class. "It's been pretty cool," she said. "There are only 15 people in the class instead of a couple of hundred."

As undeclared incoming freshman, she hasn't officially selected a major. She considered pre-law and law school but has decided to pursue a business degree.

"I want to work in hospitality or marketing," she said. "I definitely want to help people and work with them in some way."

Some of the other benefits for CHP students include summer research and travel grants, close student-faculty interaction, a lecture series on topics of general interest, dress-rehearsal visits to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and programs focus on interaction with other cultures.

(8/28/19) This story was updated with after an interview Rylee Sjuts via phone this evening.

Soccer team falls at Hoopeston, VB drops opener

Sports Book: August 27

Soccer suffers road loss
Keeper Mason Behrens fended off 9 of 12 shots on his goal in the SJO soccer team's 3-0 loss to Hoopeston on Tuesday. Senior Zac Seeley was unable to find net after booting three of the six SJO shots on the Cornjerker goal. Freshman Will Page played all 80 minutes in the team's first loss of the season. The Spartans look to bounce back against Uni-High tomorrow in their home opener at 4:30 p.m..

Volleyball falls 2-1 to St. T
After taking the first set 25-23, the St. Joseph-Ogden varsity volleyball team dropped the next pair, 25-15 and 25-21 in their home opener against St. Teresa. The Spartan play next at Mahomet-Seymour on Saturday. Match time is scheduled for noon.

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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

ViewPoint | There are a few things our culture needs to admit

In 2016, there were 11,004 gun homicides in the United States. Additionally, 10,497 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Why do leftists demonize guns but are silent when it comes to alcohol's role in DUI deaths?

Some big government types want new legislation severely restricting gun purchases. But it won't work.

Recently, a convicted felon walked into the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago and open fired with a rifle; another convicted felon with an extensive criminal history of weapons opened fire on Philadelphia police officers, wounding six; and a shooter, also a felon, killed a California Highway Patrol Officer.

Current gun laws did not stop these criminals who are already legally barred from possessing a firearm from using guns to attack others.

We should stop the feckless politicking and political correctness and admit that we have a cultural problem. We should look at the rise in secularization, family breakdown, drug abuse, mental illness, identity-politics and demand personal responsibility and accountability.

BTW - with the legalization of weed, the numbers of intoxicated drivers and deaths will certainly increase in the coming years, as will violence-related marijuana-induced psychosis.

Forgetting God and His ways have consequences.

David E. Smith, Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute
Tinley Park, IL

Memory Monday: Volleyball hits the wall at supersectional

Traesha Worley
We dug back 15 years on an old hard drive to bring this week's Memory Monday feature. On the left, St.Joseph-Ogden's Traesha Worley makes solid contact with the ball for a kill against Mt. Pulaski on November 6, 2004. The Hilltoppers beat the Spartans 25-15, 25-21 to win the Hoopeston Supersectional title Saturday night. SJO, playing an independent schedule this season, finished a marvelous, memorable season with 28 wins and 6 losses. See more photos from this match almost 15 years ago here: Spartans vs Hilltoppers.

Stacy Buck and SJO coaches watching their game Sarah Thompson
In the photo above, From the bench, Stacy Buck and coaches [left to right] Megan Blair, head coach Lydia Gard, and Erica Weber keep their attention on different facets of the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team's effort to advance to the IHSA state tournament against a powerful Mt. Pulaski team. On the left, Sarah Thompson passes the ball forward during a heated rally. Mt. Pulaski went on finish the season as the Class 1A runner-up at the IHSA State Volleyball Finals. (All photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

SJO ready for a glorious football campaign

Crayton Burnett looks to make a pass during the St. Joseph-Ogden football team's scrimmage on Friday. Burnett, who saw varsity action toward the end of the season as sophomore last fall, will be the starting signal caller for SJO. The Spartans' passing game is a potential threat with Burnett's arm and this year's stable of receivers. Below: More than 60 or so parents and fans were on hand to watch the varsity squad and scout players run live plays against each other. (All photos on this page by PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

SJO fans and parents watch scrimmage game

"We don't have one or two leaders. We have a team of leaders right now."

St.Joseph-Ogden head coach Shawn Skinner pointed out while talking about the upcoming season before the team introduction later in the gym. The Spartans have 22 seniors on the roster ready to prove themselves and continue to build the program back to its former level of success. Here, Skinner gives instructions to players early on during the scrimmage session.

SJO head football coach Shawn Skinner

Primmer takes a drink
Ramsey Primmer takes a drink between plays. Skinner said the veteran cornerback has been instrumental in getting a lot of the "young guys" up to speed and ready to play nine weeks under Friday night lights. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

SJO cheerleaders perform at the Fall Kickoff
Above, left: Spartan cheerleaders perform on the sideline of the practice field. This year's scrimmage session could not be held under the newly installed lights on the field due to track resurfacing. Above, right: Chance Izard moves with the flow of the play while on defense. Izard may well be a strong catalyst for the program to improve on last year's 5-5 finish. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
Chance Izard plays defense

Max Shonkwiler, Jesse Schluter and Tyler Jones
(Left to right) Max Shonkwiler, Jesse Schluter and Tyler Jones take a moment to smile while waiting for the next stage of the Spartan scrimmage to start. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

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