Here's a look at area teams playing second-round IHSA football games this week

Unity quarterback Dane Eisenmenger looks for an open receiver during his team home game against St. Joseph-Ogden. The sophomore signal caller aired out the pigskin completing 15 of his 26 passing attempts for 197 yards and scored twice on three and 20-yards strikes. Eisenmenger and the Rockets will host undefeated DuQuoin (10-0) on Saturday at 2pm. The last time the two programs squared off was in a second-round game in the fall of 2009. Unity, then 10-0, defeated the 9-1 Indians, 47-7.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

URBANA - Just five area or area conference football teams remain in this year's IHSA football playoff. Kickoff times and location are listed below.

#7 Catlin Salt Fork (8-2) at #2 Sesser Valier (10-0), Saturday, 2 p.m.

#6 Farmington (9-1) at #3 Central Catholic (10-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.

#6 Montini (7-3) at #14 Prairie Central (6-4), Saturday, 2 p.m.
#1 DuQuoin (10-0) at #9 Unity (8-2), Saturday, 2 p.m.
#6 St. Joseph-Ogden (8-2) at #3 Roxana (10-0), Saturday, 3 p.m.

Caleb Dwyer lets out a celebratory scream as he heads to the bleachers to join teammates in singing the school song after St. Joseph-Ogden's 26-19 win over Prairie Central at Dick Duval Field. The Illini Prairie Conference runner-up travels to Roxana on Saturday for their second-round game. Meanwhile, the Hawks (5-4), who are still playing postseason football, will have home field advantage starting at 2pm against Montini Catholic School on Saturday.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Photo Gallery | St. Joseph-Ogden 38 - Carlinville 15

James Barron (18) and Ryker Lockhart (7) celebrate in the end zone with after Tim Blackburn-Kelley's 83-yard TD in the first quarter of their home football playoff game against Carlinville. Blackburn-Kelly, a sophomore, finished the game with 89 receiving yards and 54 rushing on six carries. The Spartans went on to eliminate the Cavaliers from the IHSA playoffs, 38-15. SJO advances to face Roxana on the road this Saturday at 3pm.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Logan Smith rolls out looking for an open receiver during first half action. The senior signal caller was 11-for-15 passing, tossing 204 yards and two touchdowns. Smith also tallied 70 rushing and ran the into the end zone on a 33-yard gallop 56 seconds in the second quarter against Carlinville. See more awesome photos from the SJO - Carlinville football game here ...
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

A member from the Maroon Platoon, St. Joseph-Ogden's student cheering section, gives a high-five to school resource officer Shawn Hallet during a timeout. In addition to serving and protecting, Hallet also added a little time for cheering, eliciting smiles and laughter from fans and students, in his duties while supporting SJO at Saturday's home playoff game.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

A perfect day for football, Spartan fans enjoy an overcast fall day in the stands.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

An SJO fan cheers for the team during the second quarter.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartans Jared Altenbaumer, Braxton Waller and Nolan Earley bring down Cavaliers' Jack Rouse during second quarter action.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO band in costumes

Musicians in the SJO Marching Band perform in Halloween costumes while putting on a show for spectators during halftime.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO marching band

SJO trumpet player keeps in step and on time while performing at halftime with the SJO Marching Band. Click here to see more photos of the marching band at this game.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan Flag Girl

The SJO Marching Band performed its competition routine during halftime. Here, a flag girl performs for one the largest crowds this season at Dick Duval Field on Saturday.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Justice Wertz

Spartan Justice Wertz weaves his way through Carlinville defenders Weston Kuykendall and Triston Thompson. Wertz finished the playoff game with 119 yards rushing and another four on a pass play. The senior delivered one of three touchdowns for St. Joseph-Ogden in the third quarter.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Ray Gutierrez celebrates

SJO's Ray Gutierrez celebrates a stop near the goal line. The Spartan defense held the visiting Cavaliers to just 161 yards rushing and gave up just one touchdown on the ground on a 9-yard run in the second quarter.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Maroon Platoon members capture School Resource Officer Shawn Hallett making his music debut playing Roto-toms during a timeout on the field.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Fans on the SJO stands watch the game in during third quarter action. Check out more photos of fans in stands from the SJO side of the bleachers here.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO Linebacker

A Spartan linebacker Nolan Earley flows with the play as he watches Cavalier quarterback Rex Reels rollout desparately looking for an open receiver. Reels threw just one TD, a 17-yard 4th quarter pass to Mason Gilpin. After the two-point conversion, Carlinville trailed 38-15 with two and half minutes left in the game.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan football team celebrating

The St. Joseph-Ogden football team and students fans sing the school fight song after the game. The weather forecast for this Saturday's second-round contest says fans will enjoy a warm November day with temperatures around 68ยบ under partially cloudy skys at game time.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

More 2023 SJO football galleries:

St. Joseph-Ogden vs Carlinville
October 28, 2023 ... 183 photos

St. Joseph-Ogden vs Paxton-Buckley-Loda
October 19, 2023 ... 183 photos

St. Joseph-Ogden vs Unity
September 1, 2023 ... 197 photos

St. Joseph-Ogden vs Monticello
August 24, 2023 ... 183 photos

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Photo of the Day | High-valued resource: RSO helps cheer Spartans to victory on Saturday

SJO Resource Officer
St. Joseph - While spectators enthusiastically clap behind him, St. Joseph-Ogden School Resource Officer Shawn Hallett readies a hardy high-five for a student fan after leading Saturday's spectators to cheer louder for the Spartan football team during their Class 3A first-round playoff game. Some might say the effort paid off handsomely as SJO went on to win the day, 38-15. The 8-2 Spartans travel to Roxana to take on the undefeated Shells this Saturday. The Roxana athletic department provided a through gameday guide for fans and spectators that can be found here. More photos from this game are on they way later this week.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Jewish groups protest at U.S. Capitol, demand Gaza cease-fire

by Mark Richardson
Illinois News Connection

Chicago - Thousands of American Jews from Illinois and across the country protested at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., this week, calling for a cease-fire in the war in Gaza.

It has been more than a week since Hamas invaded Israel, leaving hundreds dead and injured. Since then, Israeli troops have bombarded Gaza in an effort to take out Hamas and free hundreds of Israelis and others who were kidnapped.

Scout Bratt, a member of Illinois Jewish Voice for Peace, said they are opposed to waging war against the Palestinians who live in Gaza, most of whom are not affiliated with Hamas.

"There is no military solution to this," Bratt argued. "We need to address root causes, which include the Israeli military occupation in apartheid, and again, our own government's role in funding this oppression."

Thousands of members from the same group protested at the White House earlier in the week. The event was peaceful, but dozens of protesters were arrested for "civil disobedience." A Marist poll found 63% of Americans favor U.S. public support for Israel, but 79% fear the war will lead to a larger Middle East conflict.

As the protests played out, President Joe Biden flew to Israel and other Middle Eastern countries to show solidarity with the Jewish nation. Bratt noted her group has a message for Biden: to end U.S. military support to Israel. She added most of the military equipment being used is paid for and made on U.S. soil.

"It's about holding accountable our government for contributing to these severe crimes," Bratt contended. "Essentially, what we're demanding is a cease-fire. Now."

Bratt pointed out American support for Israel's attack in Gaza is spurring violence against Palestinians here and in other parts of the world. She cited an incident in suburban Chicago this week when a landlord allegedly killed the 6-year-old child of one of his tenants because, according to the man's relatives, the child was Palestinian.

"There's a lot of rhetoric and vitriol that both Israeli and American leaders are perpetuating that is dehumanizing," Bratt stressed. "Clearly this vitriol is contributing to violence here in our own cities."

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Leave the snow behind and head to the ocean this winter holiday season

Photo provided

NAPSI — As an increasing number of people have discovered: for delightful holidays by just adding water. Simply hop on a plane and leave the midwest for the warm waters, whether it be a lake, bay or the ocean, and head for Florida, Texas, or California. For an unique way to celebrate this Christmas, look at using Boatsetter, a mobile app for boat rentals, charters, and on-water experiences, making it easier to have fun with family and friends by spending the season at sea.

Just imagine — using Boatsetter to host Friendsgiving onboard, be part of a lighted boat parade, or secure the best view for New Year’s Eve fireworks.

With more than 50,000 boats in over 700 global locations, the company makes getting on the water as easy as calling a rideshare. With no sign-up fees or membership dues, its easy-to-use app and simplified booking process lets anyone — with or without prior boating experience—browse, book, and go.

As Michael Farb, Boatsetter CEO, put it, “The holiday season is about spending quality time with loved ones, and what better way to do that than on a boat?”

Sample Sailings

• A pontoon party where you can take in unparalleled views of dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees.

• A day of offshore fishing and cruising.

• A luxury sailing experience on board the aptly named “Serenity” sailboat. Learn to sail or just relax under the careful watch of a U.S. Coast Guard-certified captain.

• A two-day overnight charter for the extended family in Turks and Caicos. Escape to a private beach of your choosing on board a luxury yacht complete with crew.

By connecting qualified renters directly to boat owners and licensed USCG-certified captains, Boatsetter makes it easy to discover and enjoy a wide array of on-water experiences.

For further facts, to see available tours or to book one, visit

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Overcoming burnout while searching for your next career opportunity

Welder at Work
Photo: Pavel Chernonogov/PEXELS

StatePoint Media - As the job search continues for unemployed Illinoians, a new national survey reveals a massive case of job hunt burnout.

The Insight Global survey, conducted among recently unemployed American adults actively seeking employment, found that a competitive job market, a lack of applicable jobs, low self-confidence and an inability to interview well are all contributing factors in job candidates’ lack of success in securing employment.

Fifty-five percent of respondents have been searching for a new job for so long that they are completely burnt out, and many are willing to take drastic measures to save and make money in the meantime: More than 2 in 5 would live at home with their parents; the same amount would rather create an Etsy business or thrift flip than send out another blast of resumes, and of Gen Z respondents, 44% admit they would rather get a sugar daddy or sugar mommy than apply to more jobs.

“It’s no wonder that so many unemployed Americans are feeling unmotivated – between several years of a volatile job market, headcount reductions, budget cuts, hiring freezes and a total overhaul of the way companies are running their businesses, it can feel downright impossible to get back on track,” says Bert Bean, CEO of Insight Global, a leading national staffing company.

To beat job hunting burnout and get back in the game, Bean recommends the following tips:

• Rethink Remote: Of millennials surveyed, 21% feel they’re still unemployed because they will only apply to remote job opportunities. To greatly expand your options, be open to hybrid and on-site work opportunities.

• Stand Out: Over a quarter of those seeking full-time work feel that there are no jobs available for their skill set or there is too much competition for available jobs. To stand out in the crowd, get creative. Whether it’s creating an interactive resume, dropping by the office for a quick hello, or just not stopping until you hear back, doing whatever it takes to get your foot in the door improves your chances of success.

• Find Small Wins: Job hunting can be exhausting and disheartening. Find things you can accomplish that help you feel productive and remind you what it feels like to win again. It could be getting in shape, completing a 5K, journaling for a month, or making five new daily connections on LinkedIn.

• Don’t Write Anything Off: Interestingly, 26% of men surveyed said they are still unemployed because the jobs they hear back from are beneath them. Leave preconceived notions like this at the door. Many companies offer opportunities for promotions and upskilling, so look past the specific outlined role and imagine future possibilities with that organization.

• Reach for Resources: When trying to get back in the workforce, don’t go at it alone. Companies like Insight Global can help you shape up your resume, brush up on interview skills, boost your confidence and connect you with companies and opportunities that fit the bill. Leverage events like the Be The Light tour, Insight Global’s free-to-attend mobile career center in select cities around the country. Accepting help from professionals will put you in a better position for landing a job. To learn more, and for additional tips and resources, visit

“While searching for employment that fulfills your professional goals can feel overwhelming, changing the narrative and thinking about the market in new ways can connect you with additional opportunities and position you to succeed,” says Bean.

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Quick Pics | Win #7 and IPC second place spot sealed for SJO after win over PBL

St. Joseph-Ogden's Justice Wertz takes advantage of the holes created by the SJO offensive line to churn up sod through the Paxton-Buckley-Loda defense. The senior finished the game with 119 all-purpose yards. See more photos from this game here.
Photo: PhotoNews Media

Tanner Siems and Coy Taylor celebrate the first of three touchdown receptions for Siems. After scoring on this 23 yard play, Siems hauled in an 11 and 37-yard pass for SJO touchdowns. Taylor also caught a 30-yard pass in the rout at Zimmerman Field in PBL.
Photo: PhotoNews Media

With Garrett Denhart on holding duty, senior Joe Frasca boots another PAT for SJO. Frasca, who converted on five of six extra point attempts and nailed a field goal in the third quarter, averaged 46 yards across his six kickoffs in the game.
Photo: PhotoNews Media

Rowan Musselman hauls in one of three interceptions picked off by the Spartans. The senior ran the ball 20 yards down the field to setup St. Joseph-Ogden's next scoring drive.
Photo: PhotoNews Media

Spartans' Nate Wagner blocks Panther's Connor Rice during second half action. Keeping the game out of reach in the second half, SJO recorded 62 tackles on the PBL, three for a losses totaling 16 yards. See more photos from this game here.
Photo: PhotoNews Media

Guest Commentary | I'm ready for a break from all the bad news

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

I’m burned out watching the news. I don’t enjoy feeling like I want to throw up. There has to be more to life than taking in the world headlines every morning and every evening. However, I have to pause and give thanks because I’m not part of the news story. I don’t want to be because news is typically bad.

When you turn on the morning or evening news the first few minutes is filled with all the bad news in the world and your area. Innocent people in Israel being ripped apart by hate-filled religious terrorists. Innocent civilians in Gaza are dying every day. Another mentally ill gunman kills innocent people in Maine. A category five hurricane wipes out Acapulco. Congress finally agrees on a Speaker. Surely, we are glad if we are not part of the news story. Being in the news typically means something bad is going on. You don’t want to be in an active shooter situation or being attacked by terrorists.

A friend of mine has said, “I don’t watch the news, it’s too depressing.” Depressing is probably a reasonable word. Yet, be glad that you weren’t in the news because that would be more depressing.

If you are like me, you are probably ready for a break from all the bad news. You can turn off your television and your computer and move throughout your day. Just hope that along the way that nothing bad happens around you. There are crazy people almost everywhere it seems. Drugs are flowing in this country. Drug related deaths are rampant. Violent drivers are on our highways. Road rage violence happens somewhere every day in this country. The mentally ill have access to semi-automatic rifles. Hate-filled people live throughout our country. The desperate and hurting are everywhere. Hate-filled religious terrorists are not just isolated people living in the Middle East. Some of them probably live not far from you.

You can be minding your own business and living the good American citizen’s life and still have something bad happen to you. At every level there is a new devil. It just takes a crazy person to make news happen and unfortunately you can be in the right place at the wrong time to become part of the news story.

So, while many of us are tired of the bad news, let’s try to be grateful for every day that we somehow, by the grace of God, miss being a part of the news.


He is the author of 13 books including UncommSense, the Spiritual Chocolate series, Grandpa's Store, Minister's Guidebook insights from a fellow minister. His column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to


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