North Mac football rebounds against Staunton, clinches share of SCC title
Southwestern beats Gillespie on Senior Night; Carlinville’s win streak ends at Pana
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
In their first season as a South Central Conference member, the North Mac Panthers can call themselves champions.
After getting blitzed by Pana on the road the previous week, North Mac rebounded on Senior Day versus Staunton to secure a share of the league crown.
The Panthers head into the playoffs with an 8-1 record overall and will have home field advantage in the first round.
North Mac’s offense was caught in neutral throughout the first quarter, but ignited for 20 points in the second as Joe Reinhart, Zane Hogan and Reed Lewis each ran the football into the end zone. The scoring rushes by Reinhart and Lewis measured eight yards apiece, while Hogan ventured half the length of the field – 50 yards.
Hogan was far from done and continued to expose a faltering Staunton line in the second half. The senior broke free on a 46-yard touchdown rush in the third and made it 32 unanswered tallies for North Mac as he found the end zone from 40 yards out with just under two minutes left in the game.
All by himself, Hogan matched Staunton’s entire team in total yards with 225 and only needed 10 carries to do it. Overall, 533 of North Mac’s 538 yards were generated on the ground.
Kaden Brown ran 16 quarterback keepers for 142 yards while only attempting two passes. Lewis and Reinhart collaborated for 166 yards on 30 carries.
The Bulldogs spoiled the shutout on the final play of the season, which was a 12-yard touchdown pass from Cody Ury to Jacob Dillon with one second remaining on the clock.
Ury threw for 144 yards on 15 completions while attempting 29 throws for the Bulldogs, who finished 1-8 on the year. Braden Buffington reeled in six of those passes for 68 yards. Dillon added 60 yards on five catches.
Southwestern beats Gillespie on Senior Night
Though their playoff hopes had already been dashed, Southwestern made sure to send its seniors off on a high note.
The Piasa Birds defended their nest and overpowered Gillespie, 47-6.
The victory was Southwestern’s fourth of the year and third at home.
The Miners finished 1-8 in their first season under rookie head coach Dalton Barnes.
Similar to North Mac, Southwestern was fully committed to rushing the ball from start to finish. Four Piasa Birds contributed to a balanced attack with Quinton Strohbeck (29 yards) scoring three touchdowns on seven quarterback keepers. Jacob Fisher (48 yards) carried the ball 14 times and picked up six points of his own. Lane Gage ran for 65 yards on nine rushes. Grayson Brewer had 44 yards on eight carries.
The Miners elected to take more of a ‘50/50’ approach. Sophomore quarterback Owen Schweppe completed 12 of 24 passes for 101 yards and Gillespie’s lone touchdown, which was caught by leading receiver Cadyn Oberkfell in the second quarter. Oberkfell made three catches for 51 yards. Chase Helvey took 23 handoffs and capped off his high school career with a 102-yard performance.
Carlinville’s win streak ends at Pana
Though they battled hard, the Carlinville Cavaliers were unable to pull an upset against a red-hot Pana squad on enemy ground.
The Panthers defeated CHS, 21-7, in a defensive battle and dropped Chad Easterday’s crew to 5-4.
The two rich football programs, who are both continuing their journies in the playoffs next week, traded touchdowns in the second quarter and remained tied until the Panthers finally pulled away with a 14-point surge in the final minutes.
Pana ended the regular season on an eight-game winning streak and shared an SCC title with North Mac while snapping a five-week victory string for Carlinville.
SCC Week 9 scoreboard
North Mac 32, Staunton 6
Southwestern 47, Gillespie 6
Pana 21, Carlinville 7
Vandalia 41, Greenville 21
Hillsboro 48, Litchfield 36
Final SCC standings
T-1. * Pana (8-1)
T-1. * North Mac (8-1)
2. * Vandalia (7-2)
3. * Hillsboro (6-3)
4. * Carlinville (5-4)
T-5. e-Greenville (4-5)
T-5. e-Southwestern (4-5)
T-6. e-Litchfield (1-8)
T-6. e-Staunton (1-8)
T-6. e-Gillespie (1-8)
* = clinched postseason berth
e = eliminated from postseason contention