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HS Football Week 8: Rouse returns, Carlinville locks up 17th consecutive playoff berth

During the Carlinville High School varsity football team’s Week 8 matchup at Hillsboro, senior captain Jack Rouse wore a white shirt underneath his uniform that read “I’m Back.” Rouse showed it off after scoring a 41-yard touchdown that sealed the Cavaliers’ 17th consecutive playoff berth. Rouse, who had to miss the past six weeks with a broken arm, finished with 145 rushing yards plus a pair of scores on 14 carries in his return. Photo contributed.


Southwestern needs Week 9 win to qualify

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

After being sidelined for the past six weeks with a broken arm, Carlinville senior captain Jack Rouse returned to the field and helped the Cavaliers seal up their program’s 17th consecutive Illinois High School Association postseason berth Oct. 13.

Rouse, who had already surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for his career as an all-time Carlinville running back, electrified the Cavaliers with 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 14 carries.

Carlinville jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead and Rouse capped off a 28-7 victory on a 43-yard pursuit to the end zone early in the fourth quarter at Hillsboro.

Weston Kuykendall added 70 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries of his own.

As a team, Carlinville logged 300 total yards, including 248 on the ground, while the defense recovered a pair of fumbles and saw Tate Duckels come away with his first varsity interception. Nate Dyer (11) and Caleb Robinson (10) each cracked double digits in tackles.

Carlinville improved to 5-3 overall and eliminated Hillsboro from postseason contention.

The Cavaliers look to improve their playoff positioning as they close the regular season against winless Gillespie Fri., Oct. 20. Meanwhile, the visiting Miners are searching for their first victory since August 2022. Gillespie fell to 0-8 in 2023 with a 52-13 home loss to playoff-bound Vandalia last weekend.

Southwestern needs Week 9 win to qualify

Southwestern doesn’t have time to dwell on a 48-7 blowout defeat it suffered against outright South Central Conference champion Greenville.

The Piasa Birds still have an opportunity to enter the playoffs. All they need is a Senior Night win over Hillsboro.

Southwestern is 4-4 heading into the final week of the regular season.

Other action

In other action, Staunton collected its third win of the season as the Bulldogs defeated the North Mac Panthers, 36-20, in Virden. Staunton battles Pana (5-3) and North Mac welcomes Greenville (8-0) in this weekend’s season finale.

Litchfield, which additionally features athletes from Mt. Olive High School, upset Pana, 20-15, at Lloyd Hill Field and celebrated its first playoff appearance since 2005. The Purple Panthers have won four straight after starting the year at 1-3.

Carlinville 28, Hillsboro 7
Litchfield 20, Pana 15
Vandalia 52, Gillespie 13
Greenville 48, Southwestern 7
Staunton 36, North Mac 20

Gillespie @ Carlinville
Pana @ Staunton
Litchfield @ Vandalia
Hillsboro @ Southwestern
Greenville @ North Mac

y – Greenville (8-0)
x- Vandalia (6-2)
x – Pana (5-3)
x- Carlinville (5-3)
x- Litchfield (5-3)
Southwestern (4-4)
e -Staunton (3-5)
e- Hillsboro (3-5)
e- North Mac (1-7)
e- Gillespie (0-8)

y = clinched conference
x = clinched playoffs
e = eliminated from playoff contention