Plotner finishes first in dual against Sages, soccer takes another hit

Sports Book: September 17

SJO takes 9 of the top spots
In a dual meet with Monticello, the boys cross country team placed in nine of top 10 spots on Tuesday. Brandon Mattsey finished the 3-mile course in second place just under minute behind the Sages' number one runner, Josh Baysore.

Chasing Mattsey to the finish line were eight other St. Joseph-Ogden runners starting with Eric Poe, who was third with a time of 19:01, and Lukas Hutcherson, who rounded out the top four places in the non-team scored event crossing the finish line at 19:04. The trio were followed by Luke Stegall (5th, 19:07), Logan Wolfersberger (6th, 19:09), Braden Clampitt (7th,19:11), Elijah Mock (8th, 19:30), Ethan Blackburn (9th, 20:37) and Charlie Mabry in 10th place at 20:51.

Hunter Ketchum makes a great save
Hunter Ketchum bravely makes a save as he slides in front of the Spartans' goal in their home conference match against Monticello on Tuesday. Despite frosh keeper's best effort, SJO dropped a second consecutive match to the Sages, 5-0. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Soccer suffers another loss
The Spartan soccer fell 5-0 in league play to visiting Monticello for their first Illini Prairie Conference loss of the season.

Plotner leads SJO contingent
Jillian Plotner turned in a 21:15 to win the girls race in their dual meet against Monticello at Kickapoo. She finished 12th overall in a combined boys/girls race. Hannah Rajlich crossed the finish line in the silver medal position five seconds later at 21:20 and Ava Knap took third with a time of 21:27. The fourth female runner to finish, Ashlyn Lannert (21:53) came in 16th overall. Ally Monk was 5th in her division and 19th overall at 22:07.

Volleyball team declaw Panthers
Middle blocker Lacey Kaiser had nine kills. The Spartans collected and additional seven from Kennedi Burnett and the same number from Katelyn Berry to help SJO improved to 12-3. Read The Sentinel game story . . .

SJO picks up win #3 beating Central Catholic

Friday the 13th was not a lucky night to visit the SJO Sports Complex. Bloomington Central Catholic, with no wins and a pair of losses, came to St. Joseph in search of their first win of the season. Unfortunately, under the bright, glowing full moon rising in the darkened sky southeast of the city, St. Joseph-Ogden pick up their third win of their 2019 campaign after defeating the Saints, 18-7.

"I think defensively we had so many kids playing well, we just never felt stressed."

~ SJO head coach Shawn Skinner

The Spartan win was notably delivered on yet another strong defensive performance. They have allowed just three touchdowns, one in each of their first contests, for a total of 23 points this year. At this point in the 2018 season, SJO had already given up 36 points.

"I think our kids are playing hard on defense. They are doing their job," Skinner said praising the unit's performance. "They are executing the defense the way its meant to be. When you do that, we can do some good things."

Sam Wesley and Brayden Weaver each had a team-high eight tackles. The pair along with Jaden Miller, Ethan Vanliew, and Max Chatterton were credited with tackles-for-losses. Vanliew, whose game has stepped up in the last 14 days, finished the game with seven tackles.

Thanks to the defensive stops, St. Joseph-Ogden held the Saints to just five first downs per half and scoreless until there was just little over two and half minutes left in game.

"I think defensively we had so many kids playing well, we just never felt stressed," Skinner said.

Hitting him hard enough to lift him off his feet, SJO's Payton Cain hits Central Catholic quarterback Jake Baughman hard to stop him in his tracks. Behind Cain, the rest of the stingy Spartan defense swarm into position to assist. View more game photos here . . . (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Even after Central Catholic finally put up a score with 2:38 left in the game, there was not a sense of panic from the Spartans.

"If you play hard, its amazing how many good things will happen," Skinner added.

Brayden Weaver, who would finish the night with 104 yards, drew first blood for SJO on a 10-yard run with less than two minutes left in the first quarter. The following two-point conversion attempt failed.

On the next possession, Jordan Kelly picked off a pass giving the Spartans the ball to finish out the frame. Then, on the first play of the second quarter, SJO turned over the ball on an intercepted pass.

Nine minutes of gridiron tug-of-war later, senior Brodie Sullivan recovered a fumble on the 41 yard line setting up an eventual touchdown by Keaton Nolan.

Nolan finished the night with a team-high 140 yards. Thirty-three of those yards came on kick-off return.

St. Joseph-Ogden's final touchdown came on a beautiful run by quarterback Crayton Burnett.

Unable to find an open receiver in the east end zone as he rolled toward the SJO sideline eight yards out, the junior tucked the ball under his arm and cut back toward the end zone hurdling one BCC player to avoid a tackle. He was met at the 3-yard line by three Saints bent on keeping him out of the end zone. On contact, he dropped his should and spun counter clockwise evading all three defenders. Burnett then had to dive over another Central Catholic player the last two yards into the end zone.

"We still haven't peaked yet. Not even close," Burnett said after the game. Happy about how the team played and pocketing the third win of the season, he doesn't believe the team has reached their full potential quite yet. "We have a lot to improve on."

The Spartans head into Week 4 in a two-way tie with Illinois Valley Central at the top of the Illini Prairie Conference. SJO takes on Unity (2-1) tomorrow at Hicks Field in a contest featuring the two best defensive units in the conference.

Rajlich, Coursey Spartans of the Week

Week 3 Lady Spartan of the Week: Hannah Rajlich

Lady Spartan of the Week Hannah Rajlich

Back in July, Hannah Rajlich ran to a second place finish with a time of 19:48.00 in the Female 14 to 18 division at the 2019 SJO 5K. Last Saturday in Peoria she nearly matched that time.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Senior Hannah Rajlich ran a season-best time of 19:48.5 at the First to the Finish cross country meet at Detweiller Park on Saturday. She finished 45th overall running against runners from 2A schools from around the state. Last year she ran the same course at the IHSA State Cross Country Finals turning in a time of 19:20.79, which helped the St. Joseph-Ogden to a fifth place team finish. Her prep career best time in the three mile race is 18:35.0.

Honorable Mentions: Lindsey Aden (volleyball), Ava Knap (cross country), Ashlyn Lannert (cross country), Sophia Martlage (soccer), Allison Monk (cross country), Rylee Stahl (volleyball) and Payton Vallee (volleyball).

Week 3 Spartan of the Week: Drew Coursey

Spartan of the Week Drew Coursey Having never played a down of varsity football until this season, outside linebackerDrew Coursey has made a significant contribution to St. Joseph-Ogden's early 3-0 record. With his help, the Spartans look to extend their current win streak to four games and move one step closer to playoff eligibility tomorrow night at Unity. Coursey, who is not only growing more comfortable playing in the trenches physically, is building his football IQ exponentially.

"There's a kid who is getting more comfortable on Friday nights. His preparation is really good," said head coach Shawn Skinner. "He watches a lot of film and he is a smart kid."

Honorable Mentions: Kolton Batty (soccer), Mason Behrens (soccer), Crayton Burnett (football), Brady Buss (football), Blake Dable (football), Conner Hodge (football), Hunter Ketchum (soccer), Brandon Mattsey (cross country), Eric Poe (cross country).

Previous Spartans of the Week

Week 1: Jarrett Stevenson / Katelyn Berry
Week 2: Emily Elsbernd / Jaden Weaver

* * * * *

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 wins home volleyball match, faces in the crowd

The Maroon Platoon
SJO's Maroon Platoon making themselves known to the waiting Panthers at the start of the game.

A spectator closely watches set one action of the Spartans' home volleyball match against PBL.

Players talk after the game Fans have photos taken
On the left, SJO volleyball players engage in an interesting conversation. On the right, two fans pose for pictures on the gym floor after the Spartans beat visiting Paxton-Buckley-Loda in straight sets, 2-0. (All photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

SJO wins
Student fans and SJO volleyball players celebrate the team's 12 victory of the season, a 2-0 win over PBL, after the game near the student section.

PBL volleyball fans watching the game at SJO
Paxton-Buckley-Loda fans display a look of concern for their team as the Spartans pound the ball into the mid-court. See more match photos here . . .

Spartan fans after the game Spartan fans talk after the game
Spectators talk after the Spartans match. SJO home matches are always a great place to meet up with friends, family and other fans. Click here to see more than 300 photos of St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball coverage by PhotoNews Media.

group photo
More postgame photos with friends and athletes. Nothing better than a home win to put a smile on everyone's face.

SJO beats PBL, tough volleyball schedule continues

Lindsey Aden celebrates a point for SJO
(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Lindsey Aden celebrates a point for SJO in the second set of the team's match against Paxton-Buckley-Loda. Aden tallied six digs in the 2-0 win by the Spartans. See more photos from this match here: SJO vs Paxton-Buckley-Loda.
The St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball is playing one of the most grueling portions of their 2019 schedule. SJO was back in action yesterday after a five-match day on Saturday and a match they cruised to victory in just 24 hours earlier on Monday to face Paxton-Buckley-Loda on Tuesday.

Kennedi Burnett led the Spartans with nine of the team 42 digs in an exciting defensive battle that tested the starting line-up's mental and physical resilience after playing six matches in three days.

Thanks to nine kills from middle blocker Lacey Kaiser, plus seven from Burnett and the same number from Katelyn Berry, SJO improved to 12-3 on the season after declawing the Panthers, 2-0.

Emily Bigger was credited with 26 assists.

And the tribulation isn't quite over yet. Tonight, in a few hours, the lady Spartans host Danville in a non-conference, non-division match-up before a well-deserved four day reprieve to heal and prepare for the next chapter in this year's campaign.

The St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team will then play six matches in nine days starting next Monday, September 23, starting on the road at Urbana High School and ending with an Illini Prairie showdown at home versus Bloomington Central Catholic on October 2.

Left: Lacey Kaiser leaps above the net to attempt a block on a kill attempt by Paxton-Buckley-Loda's Jasmine Miles during second set action on Tuesday. Right: Emily Bigger sets the ball as teammate Katelyn Berry moves in position behind her. See, share or order photos from this match here: Spartans vs Panthers. (Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

XC runs solid in 2A races, volleyball 2nd at Mahomet-Seymour Invite

Sports Book: September 14

Volleyball finishes 2nd at Mahomet-Seymour Invitational
In a strong showing, the SJO volleyball team defeated all three teams, which included Peotone, Urbana, and Springfield South East, in the 'Gray' pool at the annual volleyball tournament in Mahomet on Saturday. They then beat Manteno in championship bracket semifinal to face a familiar foe, Mahomet-Seymour.

Knocking over Bulldogs on their home court with relative ease back on the last day of August just a few short weeks ago, St. Joseph-Ogden's title hopes - what would be a first under head coach Abby McDonald's reign - were extinguished. In their second meeting this season, M-S was much better prepared for the Spartans and defeated SJO after a 25-16 first set and 25-12 second for the championship trophy.

"We played really well throughout the whole day," said senior Rylee Stahl. "At the end we fell a little short. They (Mahomet-Seymour) were playing really well compared to the last time we played them."

Stahl tallied 28 digs and 1 ace on Saturday. Fellow senior Kennedi Burnett led the team with 35 digs and 31 kills. Katelyn Berry tallied 33 of the 159 the team collected over five matches.

Junior Payton Vallee agreed with Stahl adding that Saturday's Mahomet-Seymour team was not the same one they upset weeks earlier. While most of the Spartans on this year's squad participates in club tournaments between prep seasons, they generally play no more than three matches a day. Vallee speculated that the long day against tough opponents in pool play might have set her team back a step.

"It was a long day. We were all tired," said Vallee, who finished the tournament with 18 kills and 3 blocks on the day. "Mahomet came out and showed us something different than they did the game before."

The Spartans are now 10-3 after Saturday's tournament action.

Rajlich runs season best time
Hannah Rajlich finished 45th overall leading the St. Joseph-Ogden cross country team to a ninth place tie with Grayslake Central at the conclusion of Saturday's First to the Finish Cross Country Meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria. SJO competed in the 2A race this year and earned a total of 364 points with their top five runners.

Rajlich turned in a season-best time of 19:48.5 as the first Spartan to cross the finish line. The next four SJO runners, all within 32 seconds of each other, finished in the top 100. Ava Knapp (20:00.9) came in at 59th place, Ashlyn Lannert (20:18.6) was 80th, Ally Monk (20:20.9) 83rd, and Kailyn Ingram crossed at 20:32.2 in 97th place.

Hope Rajlich, Hannah Eastin, Addie Allen, Kendra Riddle and Malorie Sarnecki also competed in Saturday's race.

Vernon Hills won the 2A team title with 87 points. Latin finished second and Dixon scored 195 point for the bronze medal.

SJO Boys XC runs against 2A competition
The boys cross country team also ran in the 2A race at the First to the Finish. The collective efforts of the nine SJO runners resulted in a 24th place finish out of 59 competing teams with 702 points.

Brandon Mattsey ran a sub 17 minute race clocking in at 16:30.2 in 56th place out of a field of more than 400 runners. The next four runners all finished within 49 seconds of each other.

Eric Poe (117th), Elijah Mock (140th), Luke Stegall (176th) and Charlie Mabry (213th) ran three-mile times under the 18 minute mark on the state championship course.

Also competing under the Spartan banner on Saturday were Logan Wolfersberger, Lukas Hutcherson, Braden Clampitt and Ethan Blackburn.

Soccer team goes 1-2 at Cornjerker Classic
The Spartans defeated Oakwood-Cathlin in a 4-2 shootout after neither team scored during regulation time. Frosh keeper Hunter Ketchum was credited with five saves to compliment the defensive effort by SJO's backs.

Junior Kolton Batty put the ball in the net for his first goal of the season against Iroqouis West. But, that was all the scoring the Spartans could produce as they fell 6-1 to the Raiders. Sophia Martlage and Jared Emmert also had shots on the goal but couldn't put the ball between the posts. Junior Mason Behrens was credited a pair of his own.

Later this afternoon, the SJO soccer team faces Monticello for a second time in four days in a Illini Prairie Conference show down. The Sages took 21 shots on the Spartan goal on Saturday and all but five were blocked by Ketchum in his 60 minute tenure defending the goal. Luke Cohen, Kolton Batty and Garrett Siems were held to just three shots on the Monticello goal in the 5-0 non-conference loss.

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)

Sentinel Article Archive

Feb 25, 2024  .::. 
Glenbard North's Gomez wins third state title
Feb 25, 2024  .::. 
Commentary |
With BeyoncĂ©’s foray into country music, the genre may finally break free from the stereotypes that has dogged it

Feb 25, 2024  .::. 
Florida defies CDC advice telling parents it's okay to send unvaccinated kids to school during recent outbreak
Feb 21, 2024  .::. 
Commentary |
Hey Taylor; love the music, but please park that private jet

Feb 23, 2024  .::. 
Carnivore diet challenges norms, reveals health transformations
Feb 21, 2024  .::. 
Commentary |
No way having a baby should cause a financial catastrophe

Editorial |
Green light to attack NATO

Top Articles This Month