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IHSA Football Playoffs Round One: Unbeaten GF-NW Tigers defend home field, Carlinville and Southwestern out

From left, the 2023 Carlinville High School football seniors – Britton Mitchell, Bryce Widner, Christopher Lack, Jack Rouse, Camden Naugle, Rex Reels, Zach Chapman, Sam Wiese and Kaleb Wieties – played their final game in a CHS uniform last weekend. The Cavaliers faced St. Joseph Ogden in the first round of the IHSA Class 3A playoffs and lost to the Spartans, 38-15. Carlinville finished the year 6-4 overall. Photo contributed.


Enquirer Democrat Reporter

In the first round of the Illinois High School Association football playoffs, Greenfield-Northwestern overpowered Nokomis at home while Carlinville and Southwestern fell well short of upsets on the road.

GF-NW defends home field
GF-NW 52, Nokomis 12 (1A)

For the third straight year, everything was going Greenfield-Northwestern’s way in a lopsided IHSA Class 1A postseason opener.
The Tigers dominated the Nokomis Redskins, 52-12, at Fleur de Lis Field and ensured that they would stay put for the next round against Casey-Westfield.

Greenfield led 32-0 at the half and 46-0 after three quarters.

Quarterback Dylan Pembrook and power rusher Kohen Vetter each contributed a trio of touchdowns apiece for the unbeaten state-ranked Tigers.

Pembrook completed 11 of 16 passes for 194 yards. Vetter, who set the tone on a 72-yard sprint to the end zone in the opening quarter, logged 123 yards on 15 carries.

GF-NW meets Casey-Westfield in the playoffs for the first time Sat., Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. The Tigers are seeking back-to-back Elite Eight berths as well as an 11th consecutive win overall.

Carlinville and Southwestern out

Carlinville and Southwestern made strong bids for upsets during the first half of their respective contests on the road, but ultimately ran out of gas.

St. Joseph Ogden 38, Carlinville 15 (3A)

Carlinville only trailed 10-7 against St. Joseph Ogden at the half, but couldn’t keep up with the Spartans down the stretch.
The Cavaliers finished the season 6-4 with a 38-15 loss.

Carlinville ran 18 plays on the game’s opening drive, but was stopped inches short of the end zone on fourth and goal.

Despite starting with poor field positioning, the SJO Spartans marched 99 yards down the full length of the field and put the first seven points on the board.

Carlinville bounced back on the ensuing possession as Rex Reels found Noah Byots on a 56-yard pass to set up another scoring opportunity for the Cavaliers inside the SJO 10. This time, the CHS offense delivered as Jack Rouse tied the game on a nine-yard touchdown run.

With the game well out of reach at 31-7 in the fourth quarter, Reels threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Mason Gilpin, breaking a string of 24 unanswered Spartan tallies.

Reels completed six of 11 throws for 121 yards in his final game behind center.

Rouse, who recently returned to the CHS lineup in Week 8 after being sidelined for six games with a broken arm, surpassed 1,500 rushing yards to close out his high school career. He contributed 64 yards in the playoff loss, along with Weston Kuykendall.

Athens 33, Southwestern 7 (2A)

At the start, everything seemed to be lining up for Southwestern’s first playoff victory in school history against Athens.

Rocky Darr recovered a fumble for the Piasa Birds at the Warriors’ one-yard line and Logan Keith broke the plane for the game’s opening touchdown on the ensuing snap. Southwestern was on the fringe of doubling its advantage with the football at the Athens three-yard line in the second quarter, but fumbled the pigskin back to the Warriors. Everything went downhill from there as Athens scored 33 unanswered points to bury the Birds.

Deacon White came away with an interception to keep Southwestern even at 7-7, but the offense failed to capitalize heading into the locker room. Athens broke the tie via a 26-0 surge in the second half.

Southwestern, which remains without a victory in 12 postseason games, closes 2023 5-5 overall.

Class 1A
Lena-Winslow 50, Rockford (Lutheran) 13
Forreston 20, Ottawa (Marquette) 7
Kewanee 41, Mackinaw (Deer Creek) 6
Morrison 34, Fulton (H.S.) 12
Toulon (Stark County) 34, Princeville 20
Oneida 28, Newman Central Catholic 14
Chicago Hope Academy) 58, Peru 6
Aurora (Christian) 38, Gibson City 7
Camp Point (Central) 54, Bridgeport 0
Hardin (Calhoun) 42, Heyworth 14
Belleville (Althoff Catholic) 76, Tuscola 41
LeRoy 45, Villa Grove 14
Sesser 34, Carrollton 8
Catlin (Salt Fork) 7, Winchester 0
GF-NW 52, Nokomis 13
Casey (Westfield) 49, Cumberland 7
Class 2A
Seneca 45, Dwight 0
Taylor Ridge 37, Westville 21
Downs (Tri-Valley) 24, El Paso (Gridley) 0
Wilmington 41, Aledo 14
Maroa (M.-Forsyth) 42, Palos Heights 6
Momence 16, Knoxville 8
Bloomington (Central Catholic) 47, Mendon 0
Farmington 28, Bismarck 23
Quincy (Notre Dame) 21, Arthur 14
Nashville 49, Pana (H.S.) 7
Athens 33, Piasa (Southwestern) 7
Red Bud 7, Chester 0 (OT)
Shelbyville 48, Trenton (Wesclin) 0
Vandalia 34, Lawrenceville 22
Johnston City 16, Auburn 8
Breese (Mater Dei) 40, Carmi (White County) 22
Class 3A
Byron 72, Chicago (Noble/Hansberry) 0
Peotone 34, Chicago (Crane) 13
Stillman Valley 21, Chicago (Noble/Johnson) 20
Pecatonica 34, Oregon 0
Princeton 44, Paxton (Buckley-Loda) 7
Monmouth 35, Poplar Grove 14
Fairbury (Prairie Central) 48, Chicago (North Lawndale Charter) 6
Lombard (Montini) 48, Eureka 6
DuQuoin (H.S.) 28, Monticello 21
Tolono (Unity) 35, Williamsville 21
Mt. Carmel 24, Benton 17
Sullivan Okaw Valley 14, Clinton 13
Greenville 35, Fairfield 12
Stanford (Olympia) 20, Litchfield 17
Roxana 50, Paris 22
St. Joseph (Ogden) 38, Carlinville 15
Class 1A
#8 Forreston (8-2) at #1 Lena-Winslow (10-0)
#5 Morrison (9-1) at #4 Kewanee (Wethersfield) (9-1)
#2 Toulon (Stark County) (10-0) at #10 Oneida (8-2)
#3 Chicago Hope Academy (9-1) vs. #6 Aurora (Christian) (8-2)
#1 Camp Point (Central) (10-0) at #9 Hardin (Calhoun) (7-3)
#5 LeRoy (9-1) at #4 Belleville (Althoff Catholic) (9-1)
#7 Catlin (Salt Fork) (8-2) at #2 Sesser (10-0)
#6 Casey (Westfield) (9-1) at #3 GF-NW (10-0)