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North Mac football handles Southwestern, improved Carlinville Cavies scare Vandalia

North Mac center and Vanderbilt University commit Cooper Starks, pictured blocking for quarterback Kaden Brown on a keeper during a 40-0 Week 1 win against Carlinville in Virden, will lead the Panthers against Vandalia in a battle for soul possession of the South Central Conference’s top spot this Friday. Brown once again dominated with his legs, using holes created by Starks and a powerful line to rack up 115 yards on seven carries against Southwestern last week. The Panthers improved to 2-0 with a 26-9 victory over the Piasa Birds. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Jackson Wilson.


Enquirer Democrat Reporter

After just three weeks, there is only going to be one undefeated high school football team remaining in a league that tightened up like a knot on Labor Day weekend.

South Central Conference newcomer North Mac is scheduled to meet Vandalia in a battle of 2-0 squads at Virden this Fri., Sept. 9.
For one frontrunner, the win came rather easily. However, it was the complete opposite for the other.

The Panthers, though they didn’t perform as consistently in comparison to week one, still cleared their first road hurdle in a convincing manner at Piasa. On the other hand, the No. 7 ranked Vandals were put to the test in an unforgiving environment beneath the shadow of the Big House on West Main and avoided a major scare against a much-improved Carlinville team that refused to give in until a key defensive played spelled doom in the game’s closing seconds.

North Mac 26, Southwestern 9

North Mac jumped out to a 20-9 halftime lead and posted a shutout in the game’s final 24 minutes en route to a 26-9 drubbing of Southwestern.

If a Panther named Joe was in the vicinity of a Bird, that was a sign of destruction. Joe Reinhart and Joe June combined for 31 tackles alone. Reinhart led the charge with 17 of those takedowns while additionally forcing and recovering a fumble.

For the second week in a row, the Panthers generated the vast majority of their offense on the ground. Quarterback Kaden Brown accounted for 115 of North Mac’s 239 rushing yards on just seven keepers. Brown only passed the ball 10 times, but made each of those attempts count.

Nine of his throws were completed and two of them resulted in touchdowns to June and Reinhart. Overall, Brown finished with 195 yards on the evening.

Southwestern quarterback Quienton Strohbeck went 10 for 25 with his passes for 136 yards in the loss. Greyson Brewer contributed a team-best 78 rushing yards on 14 carries and scored the Birds’ lone touchdown in the second quarter.

Southwestern fell to 1-1 and hosts Litchfield (1-1) this Friday.

Vandalia 21, Carlinville 14

With less than half of a minute left in regulation, a lost fumble at the Vandalia 15-yard line sealed defeat for Carlinville.

Four turnovers cost the Cavaliers, including another fumble that was returned six yards for a touchdown at the start of the third quarter.

Carlinville snapped a 62-minute scoreless drought when Rex Reels connected with Henry Kufa for a nine-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-7 and get the Cavaliers on the board for the first time in 2022.

On the next drive that followed Vandalia’s defensive touchdown, Jack Rouse broke free on a 55-yard pursuit to the house for another counterattack.

Rouse led all Cavaliers with 111 yards on 19 carries.

Reels completed eight of 19 passes for 106 yards and was intercepted twice.

Carlinville fell to 0-2 with the loss and will travel to Hillsboro (1-1) Friday.

Litchfield 22, Staunton 14

Staunton was on the wrong side of history at Litchfield.

The Bulldogs rallied from a 16-0 deficit and pulled to within 16-14, but the Panthers used a late touchdown to seal their program’s first win in seven years.

Staunton dropped to 0-2 and will host Greenville (1-1) Friday.

Greenville 50, Gillespie 12

Gillespie slid to 1-1 overall after getting stomped 50-12 in Greenville’s home debut on new athletic turf in Bond County.

The Comets stacked up 28 unanswered points after taking a 7-6 lead into the second quarter.

Gillespie is back on its home soil against defending conference victor Pana (1-1) this Friday.

SCC scoreboard
North Mac 26, Southwestern 9
Vandalia 21, Carlinville 14
Litchfield 22, Staunton 14
Greenville 50, Gillespie 12
Pana 42, Hillsboro 13

SCC standings
1. North Mac 2-0
1. Vandalia 2-0
3. Gillespie 1-1
3. Greenville 1-1
3. Hillsboro 1-1
3. Litchfield 1-1
3. Pana 1–1
3. Southwestern 1-1
9. Carlinville 0-2
9. Staunton 0-2