Runaway Rocket

Blake Kimball runs for a touchdown

Unity quarterback Blake Kimball finds plenty of open turf as he sprints from 13-yards out for the north corner of the east end zone at Hicks Field. With just over two minutes left to play in the game, the score extended the Rockets' lead by 20 over the visiting Williamsburg Bullets and sealed their advancement for another 2021 playoff game. After the 28-7 win, the undefeated Rockets will host the 12-0 Mt. Carmel's Golden Aces in an unprecedented fourth consecutive home playoff contest next Saturday. Kimball, who finished with 85 yards on the ground, scored another touchdown earlier in the third quarter on similar play from the 15-yard line. More photos and game story coming soon.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Photo Gallery: Unity wins playoff game over PBL, 21-14

Seth Hitz misses a tackle on Unity's Tyler Hensch
Paxton-Buckley-Loda Seth Hitz misses a tackle on Unity's Tyler Hensch during the second-round playoff game last Saturday. The Panthers (7-4), new to the Illini Prairie Conference, put up a good fight against the state-ranked Rockets at Hicks Field before their season came to a close after a 21-14 finish in Unity's favor. Next, the Rockets host the Bullets of Williamsville at 2pm tomorrow.
Photo: Unity Rocket Photos

Blake Kimball scrambles with the ball
Unity quarterback Blake Kimball sheds PBL linebacker Dalton Jones keeping the ball for a short gain. On a beautiful November afternoon in Tolono, Kimball set a school record on Saturday for most completions in a single season with the Rockets at 136. Tomorrow, he will have an opportunity to set the bar higher when the Rockets host their third home playoff game this season against Williamsville for a quarterfinal showdown. Saturday's forecast calls for mostly cloudy conditions with the high in the upper 30s. West winds 10 to 15 mph with gusts to around 25 mph could be a problem for extending his mark much higher.
Photo: Unity Rocket Photos

Austin Langendorf and another Unity player breaks up a pass play
Austin Langendorf and another Unity player break up a pass play to PBL's Jacob Gronsky. The Rockets, who entered the game scoring 41.9 points per game during the regular season, got the job done with a 21-14 victory is in its 26th playoff appearance in the last 27 fall seasons. A win tomorrow and the following week will mark Unity's sixth playoff appearance in as many years. See more game photos at Unity Rocket Football.
Photo: Unity Rocket Photos

Unity Dance Team
The Unity Rockettes perform on the sidelines for fans during the game on gorgeous fall day.
Photo: Unity Rocket Photos

Braxton Manuel bursts through a banner before the start of second-round game between Illini Prairie Conference foes. Manuel and the Rockets defeated the Panthers earlier in the season, 35-0.
Photo: Unity Rocket Photos

Rockets' Boden Franklin grabs on to Panther ball carrier Tyler Smith on a third-and-three play for a loss. The stop forced PBL to punt the ball putting it on Unity's 9 yard line. See more game photos at Unity Rocket Football.
Photo: Unity Rocket Photos

Paxton-Buckley-Loda senior Tyler Smith along with help from teammate Garret Sanders brings down Unity's Matt Brown. With a chip on their shoulder and something to prove, the Paxton-Buckley-Loda defense held Unity, who averaged 41 points/game during the regular season, to a total of 21 in their playoff game. PBL gave up an average of just 11.9 points in their first nine games in the IPC.
Photo: Unity Rocket Photos

Unity assistant coach and offensive line coach Tony Reetz talks to players during the game. UHS trailed 14-7 early in the second half of an exciting high school football game. The Rockets erased the deficit, first, on a pass from Blake Kimball to Dillon Rutledge on a fourth-and-15 play, and later when Kimball found his way into the end zone on a 13-yard run with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Photo: Unity Rocket Photos

Matt Brown evades PBL's Tyler Smith. Brown will be key to Unity's advance past Williamsville when they meet on Saturday at Hicks Field. In their last meeting back during the 2012 playoffs, Unity survived 10-7 on a last-second field goal on a day shaping up with similar weather conditions nine years ago. Brown finished the game against the Panthers with 87 yards on 24 carries.
Photo: Unity Rocket Photos

Unity senior Blake Kimball stretches forward to get the ball into the end zone for the game-winning score. Kimball called his own number 23 times tallying 101 rushing yards producing a come-from-behind playoff win for the Rockets. See more game photos at Unity Rocket Football.
Photo: Unity Rocket Photos

Photo of the Day - November 10, 2021

Jake Pence looking to pass the ball

Spartans win by 13

St. Joseph-Ogden's Jake Pence keeps the ball away from Notre Dame de La Salette Boys Academy's Michael Carlisle during the early-season game back on December 2, 2014. Pence recorded one field goal and was 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the Spartans' 73-60 win over the visiting Lions. The Spartans would go on to win 24 games while suffering just six losses during the 2014-15 season. For a limited time only, click here to see more photos from this game.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO to host first girls' holiday basketball tournament next week

SJO senior Taylor Wells
Taylor Wells shoots a free throw during Spartans' regional title game against Villa Grove. The senior and Mount Mercy University commit will tip-off her final season with SJO in tournament play starting on November 15 on her home court. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Next week, St. Joseph-Ogden High School will host a three-day girls' holiday basketball tournament. Sponsored by a Danville area car dealer, the 2021 Toyota of Danville Turkey Tournament will feature four teams, both varsity and junior varsity squads for an early-season holiday basketball competition.

The inaugural field of competition is formed by teams from Champaign Centennial, the hosts SJO, Tri-County and Urbana.

With four contests each day, all games will be played at the high school. The varsity games will be played in the main gym with JV teams battling it out in the high school's practice gym.

St. Joseph-Ogden, under new, first-year head coach Drew Arteaga, will face the Urbana Tigers tournament and season opener on Monday.

2021 Toyota of Danville Turkey Tournament Schedule

Monday, November 15th, 2021
JV: SJO JV vs. Urbana JV 6:00 PM (Practice Gym)
JV: Centennial JV vs. Tri-County JV 7:30 PM (Practice Gym)

VARSITY: Centennial vs. Tri-County 6:00 PM (Main Gym)
VARSITY: SJO vs. Urbana 7:30 PM (Main Gym)

Tuesday, November 16th, 2021
JV: SJO JV vs. Tri-County JV 6:00 PM (Practice Gym)
JV: Urbana JV vs. Centennial JV 7:30 PM (Practice Gym)

VARSITY: Urbana vs. Centennial 6:00 PM (Main Gym)
VARSITY: SJO vs. Tri-County 7:30 PM (Main Gym)

Thursday, November 18th, 2021
JV: SJO JV vs. Centennial JV 6:00 PM (Practice Gym)
JV: Tri-County JV vs. Urbana JV 7:30 PM (Practice Gym)

VARSITY: Tri-County vs. Urbana 6:00 PM (Main Gym)
VARSITY: SJO vs. Centennial 7:30 PM (Main Gym)

Shike wins national title, Unity's FFA teams make their mark

Olivia Shike poses with her gold medal at the 2021 National Agriscience Fair. Photo courtesy Rich McCabe
Unity FFA member Olivia Shike won the national title in the Animal Systems division at the 2021 National Agriscience Fair in Indianapolis.

The fair was held in conjunction with the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo in October. The annual Agriscience Fair encourages the use of scientific principles and emerging technologies by students to investigate complex issues related to agriculture, food, and natural resources. The competition starts at the local level and progresses to the state and ultimately to the national level each year.

Shike's project, which studied the effects of trace mineral injections on the conception rates of cows, also included submitting a 14-page research paper and creating a display detailing her research. "She started her agriscience fair project in the fall of 2020 and has progressed through the local and state judging rounds," according to Unity High School Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor Rich McCabe. One of three finalists at the national level, her research project was chosen as the best, beating out student researchers from South Dakota and Wyoming.

Shike, a sophomore who also runs cross country for the Rockets, was named National Agriscience National winner in Divison 3.

"Olivia was obviously excited to be named the national champion for her agriscience fair project," McCabe said.

Unity's FFA program's Farm Agribusiness and Management team also earned recognition at the national competition. Phillip Hartke, Delaney Kamradt, and Emma Felsman earned Gold Awards and Destiny Williamson earned a Silver Award. As a team, the group representing Unity finished in 8th place overall nationally.

Unity FFA Agribusiness team. Photo courtesy Rich McCabe

The National FFA Farm Agribusiness and Management Career Development Event (CDE) tests the ability of student FFA members to analyze farm and ranch management that challenge modern-day operations by using sound economic principles and agribusiness concepts. In addition to undergoing a problem-solving test, students must answer questions specific to economic principles in farm management.

"The Farm and Agribusiness Management team had to study through the summer and take a very detailed test for over three hours reading a variety of financial statements," McCabe explained.

Unity's Horse Evaluation team also placed at the national event.

"The horse evaluation team members qualified last fall and have been working on and off ever since," McCabe said. "The horse evaluation competition involves delivering a set of oral reasons for their placing to a judge. Some of the members of our team are very shy and I am proud of them for stepping out of their comfort zone."

Olivia Shike, Emma Aders, and Rachel Aders received Gold Awards for their effort, and Marie Baxley brought home a Silver Award from the National FFA Horse Evaluation CDE.

The Unity Horse Evaluation Team ... Photo courtesy Rich McCabe

The horse evaluation event tests each student's ability to select and evaluate horses based on breed characteristics, conformation and performance. Students look at eight selection classes, four performance classes, four sets of oral reasons, and two sets from each evaluation class. Teams also work together to give a presentation to defend their decisions before a panel of expert judges.

"I am extremely proud of the students' accomplishments," McCabe said. "The farm and agribusiness management and horse evaluation teams were thrilled to be named as gold teams.

"This is the first time any of them has participated in a national contest, and they didn't know what to expect. We would have loved to be in the top four and receive the results during the on-stage recognition, but placing gold is the next best opportunity."

Health check: Could you have undiagnosed diabetes?

Photo: Polina Tankilevitch/Pexels

StatePoint - Diabetes is a chronic condition that leads to serious life-threatening complications, however many people go undiagnosed and are undertreated -- a situation being further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and a good opportunity to better understand risk factors, symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis and action.

More than 34 million people in the United States are affected by diabetes, and one-in-five of them are undiagnosed, according to estimates from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health services organization Cigna reports that between January 2020 and June of 2021, nearly 800 of its patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 were found to have undiagnosed diabetes. Only 14% of those people had previously been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

So why are so many people living with diabetes going undiagnosed? Cigna claims data shows that those at higher risk of having social or economic obstacles to health, also had a higher risk of undiagnosed diabetes and COVID-19, which can compound problems.

"As is the case with many medical conditions, timely diagnosis and treatment of diabetes is impacted by persisting health inequities that affect certain communities and populations," says Dr. Mandeep Brar, Cigna medical director and board certified endocrinologist. "Factors such as race, ethnicity, access to healthful food, education, health care coverage and language barriers, to name a few, all contribute to undiagnosed cases of diabetes."

However, according to Dr. Brar, early diagnosis is critical for everyone: "When diabetes is left untreated, it will progress, causing complications such as neuropathy, kidney disease, diabetic ulcers and wounds, amputations and other serious and life-threatening issues. If you’re living with diabetes, the sooner you’re aware of that, the more quickly you can learn to manage your condition and prevent it from advancing."

According to Cigna, here are three steps everyone can take today:

1. Understand signs and symptoms. Sharing any new symptoms with your primary care provider can be crucial in early detection and proper, timely treatment. Symptoms can include frequent urination, excessive thirst or hunger, unexpected weight loss, cuts or bruises that are slow to heal, frequent infections, very dry skin, extreme fatigue, and blurry vision, according to Dr. Brar.

2. Get screened. Schedule an annual preventive check-up or diabetes screening. Regardless of symptoms, one of the most powerful ways to detect diabetes is to be screened for this disease with a simple blood test by your primary care provider. If diagnosed with prediabetes, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to reverse prediabetes and prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems. These changes include eating healthfully, increasing physical activity, losing weight and managing stress.

3. Assess risk factors. Some people are more likely to develop diabetes than others. In addition to being 45 years or older, risk factors include being overweight, having a parent or sibling with Type 2 diabetes and being physically active fewer than three times a week. Additionally, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk than white people for developing Type 2 diabetes. If you have any of these risk factors, request a screening test with your primary care provider, regardless of your age. For a quick, online Type 2 diabetes risk test, visit

This Diabetes Awareness Month, get savvy about the disease. Understanding symptoms and risk factors can mean early detection and better outcomes.

Photo of the Day - November 9, 2021

Tuff Stuff

Jake Rahn explodes into the Greenville backfield during second half action of St. Joseph-Ogden's 3A semifinal football game in November 2013. The Spartans' hardnosed defense held tough to cement a road win over Greenville, 44-21. Improving to 11-2 on the season, SJO advanced to state title game at Huskie Stadium to face the Stillman Valley Cardinals.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Looking for photos of a specific player from this game or SJO football season? Email us at with the athlete's name and jersey number for details.

Guest Commentary: Remember our nation's veterans, let's honor and care for them

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

During World War II, on April 9, 1942, 75,000 United States soldiers and Filipino soldiers surrendered to Japanese forces after months of battling in extreme-climate conditions.

Soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japanese forces began the invasion of the Philippines. The capture of the Philippines was crucial to the Japanese. It would bring them one step closer to the control of the Southwest Pacific. The Philippines were just as important to the U.S. Having troops in the Philippines gave the U.S. footing in the Southwest Pacific. After the invasion of the Philippines, U.S.-Filipino troops defended the crucial lands.

These brave soldiers were responsible for the defense of the islands of Luzon, Corregidor, and the harbor-defense forts of the Philippines. They fought in a malaria-infested region, and survived on little portions of food. Some lived off of half or quarter rations. The soldiers lacked medical attention. U.S. medics did what they could to help their fellow soldiers. They fought with outdated equipment and virtually no air power.

The soldiers retreated to the Philippine Peninsula when Japanese forces were reinforced and overwhelmed the U.S.-Filipino soldiers.

On April 9, 1942, the U.S. and Filipino soldiers surrendered after seven months of battle combined with exposure to the extreme elements, disease, and lack of vital supplies. The tens of thousands of U.S. and Filipino soldiers were forced to become prisoners of war to the Japanese. The soldiers faced horrifying conditions and treatment as POWs.

The soldiers were deprived of food, water, and medical attention, and were forced to march 65 miles to confinement camps throughout the Philippines.

The captive soldiers were marched for days, approximately 65 miles through the scorching jungles of the Philippines. Thousands died. Those who survived faced the hardships of prisoner of war camps and the brutality of their Japanese captors.

The POWs would not see freedom until 1945 when U.S.-Filipino forces recaptured the lost territory.

In 1945, U.S.-Filipino forces recaptured the Philippines and freed the captive soldiers who were suffering in the confinement camps. These soldiers would be impacted by the poor conditions of the camps and the mistreatment by their Japanese captors. About one-third of the prisoners died from health complications after they were freed. (The above information is from

My wife’s grandfather, Lyle C. Harlow, was one of the thousands who lived through the 65-mile march and almost four years as a prisoner of war. When he and the others who survived were freed, he came back to his wife in Kentucky who had also survived and a daughter born right after his departure overseas. He returned broken, weighing less than a hundred pounds and had to rebuild his life essentially from zero.

Harlow like thousands of others, never received a dime from the United States government after his release from the military. He received some VA medical benefits and would later die in a VA hospital. Until the last few years the VA has been a very undesirable place for medical attention but there has been improvement in recent years.

He and so many others had to rebuild their lives with no help from our country. This makes it difficult to understand how our government can consider handing out thousands of dollars to illegals pouring into our nation. Do we just hand them the American dream simply because they made it across our border?

Most Americans are charitable people. We do more than any nation to help others. Yet, when our homeless Veterans are sleeping on America’s streets while shelters, medical insurance and even cash are made available for those who are unwilling to salute our flag, hate our culture and despise many of our values, then something is seriously wrong.


Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.


This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Sentinel. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to


Photo Gallery: Area runners give all at state cross country meet

St. Joseph-Ogden's Savanna Franzen runs in the Class 1A Cross Country State Finals on Saturday. Franzen, a freshman, finished in 6th place over all at 17:51.72 to help the Spartans to a fourth-place finish in the girls Class 1A division. See more photos of the SJO athletes here.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Unity's Malia Fairbanks runs her second lap around Detweiler Park during the Class 1A Cross Country State Finals on Saturday. The veteran senior harrier was the fifth runner from the Rockets to cross the finish line at 19:04.82 to secure the team title with 126 points. The victory secured Unity's sixth consecutive cross country state trophy in over the past six seasons.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

University High School junior Kate Ahmari heads to the finish line on her way to a second-place Class 1A finish on Saturday. The Illineks finished in ninth-place with at team score of 320 behind #7 IC Catholic (246pts) and Wheaton Academy in 8th place with 289 points. Ahmari crossed the finished line at 17:29.24.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO's Ava Knap runs the last thirty yards to the finish line in her 3-mile race at Detweiller Park. The Spartans' top finisher clocked in 17:48.51 in fifth-place.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Incoming Storm

Salt Fork runner finishes in top 25

Oakwood-Salt Fork runner Macie Russell heads to the finish line in the Class 1A race. The sophomore earned All-State status after coming in 16th place. A student at Salt Fork High School, she ran the 3-mile course in 18 minutes and 21.94 seconds.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Urbana University's Stefania Dzhaman runs to the finish line behind Eureka's Meika Bender in the Class 1A Cross Country State Finals on Saturday. Dzhaman, a senior, finished her run at 19:42.85.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Pulling away from her nearest competitor, Unity's Harper Hancock closes in on the finish line. The Rockets have won the state title two other times since the 2015 season (2015, 2017). The program was runner up in 2016 and finished in third-place in 2018 and 2019 in Class 1A. Hancock, a senior, finished in 30th place with her time at 18:39.30. Follow link to view more photos of Unity cross country runners on Saturday.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

With a few more strides to go to finish his race, St. Joseph-Ogden's Luke Stegall leans forward in preparation to cross the finish line during the boys' Class 1A race. Stegall, a senior, finished the last cross country race of his prep career at 15:52.49. The Spartans finished in sixth-place in the boys team standings.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Pushing himself the last eight yards of his race, Urbana University's Henry Laufenberg runs to a 15:58.37, placing 46th place overall.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Champaign Central's Maaike Niekerk runs in the Class 2A girls' race. The senior clocked in at 19:05.30 in 86th place on Saturday.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Urbana's Celia Barbieri and Northside's Allison Feeney runs in the Class 2A Cross Country State Finals on Saturday. The solo runner representing the Tigers at state finished 111th overall at 19:19.22.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

With about 10 yards left in their race, Urbana's Brian Allison and Julio Angrave along with Champaign Central's Nick Bonn continue their final kick to the finish line during the Class 2A race.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Urbana's Hudson Coady and Champaign Central's Enrique Bueschlein run through a shaded area of the Detweiller Park course on their second lap in the Class 2A race. Coady finished 220th oveall at 17:28.15, while Bueshlein crossed over 13 seconds later for a time of 17:41.80 in 227th place.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Urbana's Sam Lambert closes in on the finish line in the Class 2A race. The senior harrier for the Tigers finished just one place away from making All-State status in 26th place at 15:25.63. Earlier in the season, Lambert won the Big12 Conference title for UHS. See more photos of Urbana's cross country athletes here.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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