September 18, 2014

Central vs Urbana, Maroons Beat Tigers On Gridiron

September 12, 2014 - Urbana, IL - Central's Elijah Medlyn blocks Urbana's Michael Martinez during first quarter action of their Big 12 Conference game. The Maroons went on to defeat the Tigers, 44-26. Central improved to 3-0 on the season while Urbana falls to an 0-3 start.

Urbana's Patrick Beckman, son of University of Illinois head coach Tim Beckman, looks to pass for the Tigers against visiting Champaign Central. Click here to see more photos from this game here.

Maroons' Montrel Moore is wrapped up by Tigers' Jaleen Jones in their game at Urbana.

Urbana's Jaleen Jones bobbles a punt during second quarter action against Central.

Demetrius Jackson, Jaimin Carter, Moaso Bumba, Broderick Warren, Rolan Jones and Jaleen Jones lead their Urbana football team on to the field at the start of their home game against Champaign Central. Central improved to 3-0 on the season while Urbana falls to an 0-3 start. Click here to see more photos from this game here.

Maroons' Jamal Stovall attempts a pass on a two-point conversion in Champaign Central's road game at Urbana. Despite the failed pass attempt, the Maroons defeated the Tigers, 44-26.

Click here to see more photos from the Central at Urbana regular season game. Use the search box to find more photos of your favorite player or team on

September 16, 2014

New Photo Gallery! Central Football At Urbana

September 14, 2014

Oakwood's Jon Davis Celebrates Two-Peat At PBL Invite

Oakwood harrier Jon Davis is once again king of the course winning the PBL Invite for a second straight year. The junior could be the first three-peat winner in 2015. The ranked Unity Rockets won the team title beating St. Joseph-Ogden (second place) by 14 points and host Paxton-Buckley-Loda by 33.

Jon Davis runs to first place ... AGAINSeptember 13, 2014 - Paxton, IL - Oakwood cross-country star Jon Davis checks to see where the rest of the pack is behind him while running at the 2014 Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School Cross-Country Invitational on Saturday. Davis won the varsity race for a second straight year with a time of 15:57.

Follow this link to see photos from Saturday's race from PhotoNews Media here: Link to photo gallery!

September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday Takedown

In just a few month wrestling season will be back. This week's Throwback Thursday features our wrestling coverage from two season starting in 2004 through the 2006 season. Today, the wrestlers in the photos below and featured in the hundreds of photos in the season gallery found here are now around 26 to 28 years old. Time certainly does fly and we hope the dedicated wrestlers we covered way back then are as successful in their adult lives as they were on the mat in their youth. We hope you enjoy the memories!

Mark Gones
February 4, 2006 - Tolono, IL - With blood flowing down his face, St. Joseph-Ogden Mark Gones arm is raised by the referee after winning first place at the Tolono regional tournament on Saturday. Gones, who has only suffered just two losses this season, easily defeated Shelbyville's Luke Dunaway by way of technical fall at 24-9 to win this year's 152-pound regional title. It was the junior's 35th win of the season.

Cody Hill vs Caleb Blaney
December 3, 2005 - St. Joseph, IL - Tigers' Caleb Blaney [bottom] tries to fight off a hold by Spartans' Cody Hill. Blaney was pinned in the second period. St. Joseph-Ogden swept all three opponents; Urbana [63-15], Warrensburg-Latham [65-11], and Danville [70-9] in their first quad wrestling meet of the 2005-06 season.

Comet wrestler Brendan Watson
February 18, 2006 - Champaign, IL - Oakwood's Brendan Watson holds Warrensburg-Latham's Nick Watkins on his back in their wrestle-back match on day two at the IHSA state wrestling meet. Watson won the match advancing to the third-place match Saturday afternoon.

Referee Janice Strand
February 25, 2006 - DeKalb, IL - Referee Janice Strand, of Oak Forrest, looks for a pin at the IHSA State Team Dual Wrestling tournament Saturday. Strand became the first female referee to officiate at a boys' state wrestling tournament.

Lukas Graves vs Tyler Hansen
November 22, 2005 - St. Joseph, IL - St. Joseph-Ogden's Lukas Graves [top] tries to turn the head of Storm's Tyler Hansen during their 125 weight-class match. Graves, a sophomore, outscored Hansen 19-2. The Spartans won their season home opener against visiting Salt Fork 61-9.

Josh Peters vs Tom Holder
February 17, 2006 - Champaign, IL - Wilmington's Josh Peters wraps Stillman Valley's Tom Holder at the IHSA state wrestling championships Friday. Holder escaped the near fall but fell 5-2 to Peters.

Hansen wrestles to 4th
February 8, 2004 - Tolono, IL - Monticello's April Dick tries to roll Salt Fork opponent Tyler Dick for a pin. Dick lost to Hansen who went on to take fourth-place in the 119 wt. class. With no separate girls wrestling division many area youth females must wrestle against males for a chance to compete for regional and state titles in the sport. Area Team Results: 1. St. Joseph-Ogden, 2. Monticello, 3. Unity, 4. Oakwood, 5. Salt Fork.

Historical match at SJO.
December 2, 2004 - St. Joseph, IL - SJO's Casey Buss cross-faces Central's Steve Tillman during their 171 lb. junior varsity match Thursday night. Buss pinned Tillman as St. Joseph-Ogden, an IHSA Class A school, beat 2A wrestling powerhouse Champaign Central for the first time in the program's history with a decisive 45-22 victory.

View more than 600 pictures from the 2005-2006 season on the PhotoNews Media website. The PhotoNews photo gallery is completely searchable. Our wrestling gallery spans more than decade of coverage of the sport in Illinois. Search for wrestlers by name, school or opponent any time day or night.

Did you wrestle this season? Tell us your favorite memory from the season in the comment section below.

September 10, 2014

Centennial's Jimmy Fitzgerald Suffers Season-Ending Injury

September 10, 2014 - Champaign, IL - Centennial quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald announced on Twitter that he suffered a torn ACL during Saturday's game against Marion today. The injury ended the senior's final prep season just two games in for the #4 ranked Chargers.

"This is a nightmare for me," Fitzgerald told WCIA. "To put in all the work and all the seniors we have on this team, and then for this to happen. You gotta find a way to spin this as a positive, and find a way to get better from it."

September 6, 2014 - Champaign, IL - Quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald breaks a tackle attempt by Marion's Jordan Evans during the Chargers' home game against the visiting Wildcats on Saturday. Fitzgerald, who suffered a season-ending injury near the end of the first half, scored two touchdowns in the rout. The Chargers went on to win 42-13 home win and improve to 2-0 on the season.

Surgery to repair the tear has already been scheduled for later this month and he is expecting a six-month recovery. In his tweet he said, "I look forward to competing at the UofI next year."

In his final game, taking the field for less than a half, he tallied impressive stats. In addition to scoring twice, he threw for 195 yards and completed 14 of his 16 passes.

September 6, 2014 - Champaign, IL - Centennial head coach Mike McDonnell and trainer Adam Tarr escort quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald off the field during the Chargers' home game against the visiting Marion High School Wildcats on Saturday.

The game was played on Saturday after inclement weather postponed the game on Friday. Centennial rolled off 23 unanswered second half points to hand the Marion their second loss in Champaign on the same field in a 42-13 final. The Chargers improved to 2-0 with the win and host Danville in the first Big 12 game of the season on Friday.

The PhotoNews Media photo gallery from Chargers home game against the Wildcats.

Best Of The Best Pics, Unity vs M-R

Last Saturday, PhotoNews Media covered Unity's home football game against Monmouth-Roseville. The game was supposed to be played on Friday night but a line of thunderstorms roared through the area postponing not only the Rocket's game at Hicks Field but dozens of other contests in East Central Illinois.

The Rockets, ranked #2 in The Associated Press' Class 3A football poll last week (and again this week), rolled to a 42-12 victory thanks to their air attack and efficient ground game. We captured a ton of great images that will make awesome 8x10 and 11x14 prints on the wall or scrapbook favorites. Here is a look at seven of our favorite photos from the game.

Charlie Bertelsen is leveled by Unity linebacker Taylor White
Monmouth-Roseville's Charlie Bertelsen is leveled by Unity linebacker Taylor White during first quarter action. The Rockets picked up their second win of the season after cruising past the Titans, 42-16. See the Unity vs Monmouth-Roseville football gallery here.

Jayden Kaiser and Dan Hillman
Rockets' Jayden Kaiser tries to get around Titans' Dan Hillman while running his pass route in the first quarter. The game was played a day later on Saturday due to thunderstorms that rolled through Central Illinois Friday evening.

Monmouth-Roseville's Josh Weber
With Unity's Matt Moore and Zach Spencer bearing down on him, Monmouth-Roseville's Josh Weber unloads a pass during second half action.

Tucker Shepherd tackled
Titan running back Tucker Shepherd is brought down by Rockets' Matt Moore, Cole Swearingen and Cameron Spomer.

Rockets' Colton Reed
With Titans' Tucker Shepherd trying to bring him down, Rockets' Colton Reed tries to get to a first down in their non-conference game. Reed finished the game with 34 yards rushing and three receptions good for 115 yards on Saturday.

Josh Weber pitches out
Monmouth-Roseville's Josh Weber pitches the ball on an option play in the second half against host Unity.

Hiley Freeman fights to stay on his feet
Rockets' Hiley Freeman fights to stay on his feet during a first quarter tackle by Titans' Dee Coleman and Angel Arreguin.

See the entire gallery on the PhotoNews Media website here: Unity vs Monmouth-Roseville football gallery. We still have about 25 more photos to add to the gallery. Like the Unity Rocket facebook fan page and learn immediately when the new photos have been added.

September 5, 2014

Central Illinois Runners Are Statistically Faster

We came across this amazing article by Nick Brehm posted to his new blog site in July. His article takes a look at the statistical performances of Illinois cross-country runners from the past three years and how their times compared with fellow competitors based on the divisions created by the Illinois High School Association for their annual post-season championship series.

Back in May of 2007, Panthers' Nick Brehm [right], and Felix Cardoso lead the pack in the boys 3200m run at the 2007 News-Gazette Honor Roll Meet. Both turned in an official time of 10:31.49, but Brehm edged out by a millasecond to take first. [Photo: PhotoNews/Clark Brooks]

By way of his data analysis Brehm's conclusion, which supports what many coaches in downstate Illinois have known all along, is central Illinois produces the best distance running programs in the state.

He writes: "The results speak for themselves really. A runner from the Central region is on average about a full minute faster than a runner from the South and Chi/Suburbs sectionals. The West and North/Northwest sectionals are generally the same when comparing the means of each region, as they are about 25 seconds slower when comparing the average times of all of the runners from each Sectional."

Click on the Facebook post above to read Brehms' methodology and other conclusions in his article "Fixing the Gap between Sectionals".

September 4, 2014

PhotoNews Throwback Thursday: 2003 Football

This week's Throwback Thursday features our 2003 football gallery. It was the first prep sports season we covered high school football with digital photographic equipment for several area newspapers. Mosey on over here to see our collection of athletes and moment from that season.

Andrew Kidd
Spartan defensive end Andrew Kidd celebrates stopping a Cavalier ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage in the final two minutes of the game on November 1, 2003. St. Joseph-Ogden High School advances to week 2 of the state football playoffs after beating Carlinville 19-14. See more photos from this game here.

Spartan linebacker Ben Gorman.
Spartan linebacker Ben Gorman (right) brings down Rockets' Henry Deters. Gorman led the team with 9 solo tackles and 4 assist. Gorman's day would have been better on November 15 if Tolono Unity had not stunned St. Joseph-Ogden High School 26-0 to win the quarterfinal matchup. Gorman was also a gift wrestler and solid baseball player for the SJO athletic program. This was the first playoff game between St. Joseph-Ogden and Unity covered by PhotoNews Media. See more game pictures here.

Running back Greg Broeren
October 17, 2003 - Champaign, IL - Centennial running back Greg Broeren drives forward before being swarmed by the Mattoon defense. The Green Wave beat the Chargers at home on Tommy Stewart Field, 19-6. We didn't post a lot of photos here from this game, but some day soon we will go back and add more to the PhotoNews Media site. Hard to believe many of these players are or near the age of 30 today!

Duval and the SJO offense
SJO Quarterback Kiel Duval unleashes a pass against the Carlinville Cavaliers during their first IHSA playoff game. Duval and the offense got off to a slow start, but once reved in the second half controlled the ball in the air and on the ground to win, 19-14. Duval is now a teacher and assistant football coach at his high school Alma Mater.

Cody Mast leads the Spartans football team
Senior Cody Mast leads the Spartans football team in a round of the school song after soundly defeating the Saukees on their home ground Saturday afternoon. St. Joseph-Ogden advances to week three of the state playoffs eliminating Pittsfield 38-8 to face conference rival Tolono Unity. See the game gallery here.

A Unity fan celebrates the Rockets 26-0 victory
A Unity fan celebrates the Rockets 26-0 victory over the SJO Spartans at Hicks Field November 15, 2003.