October 5, 2015

St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball keeps on rolling

The St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball program is enjoying another great season of winning. The Spartans improved to 15-1 after a two-game win over visiting Maroa-Forsyth on Thursday. After surviving a 30-28 first game marathon, SJO secured the match victory with a 25-17 second game score.

Here's a look at some of the best moments and players that made the win happen. See all the photos from the match on iphotonews.com here.

Rylee Smith, Karlie Baker and Kylie Michael

St. Joseph-Ogden's Rylee Smith along with teammates Karlie Baker and Kylie Michael celebrate a point for the Spartans' during their home volleyball game against Maroa-Forsyth. See more photos of Rylee Smith on iphotonews.com here . . .

Senior Natalie Littlefield

SJO senior Natalie Littlefield goes up to defend against a tip during game one. See our photo collection of her here . . .


Junior hitter Parker Francisco slams the ball cross court for St. Joseph-0gden during game one.


Spartans' Karlie Baker celebrates a point in game one on the way to a 30-28 victory.


St. Joseph-Ogden's Kylie Michael hammers the ball over net during game one.


Spartan junior Adalyn Parke celebrates a point during game two action. Parke, a setter, finished out game two as the Spartans snag the win at 25-17.

Kylie Michael handles a Maroa-Forsyth serve

Kylie Michael handles a Maroa-Forsyth serve during game two of their Okaw Valley Conference regular season contest.

October 2, 2015

Best of September, our top 10 most-viewed photos

With the most popular subjects being St. Joseph-Ogden head coach Dick Duval and Unity sports fans, over 1,000 photos were viewed on the PhotoNews Media website during the month of September. Here is a look at the Top Ten photographs visitors from around the world viewed on our growing photo archive last month.

Number 10

St. Joseph-Ogden running back Jack Fritz

Starting last month's list of popular photos on iphotonews.com is this one from September 7 with St. Joseph-Ogden's Jack Fritz carrying the ball during the Spartans' home game against Clifton Central. SJO rolled to a 44-0 victory on Saturday over their former Sangamon Valley Conference rival after the Friday rain-delayed game was finished on Saturday. Fritz, a junior who finished with 25 all-purpose yards, scored his first varsity TD during the game. See more pics of this future all-area running star here . . .

Number 9

SJO quarterback Marty Wright

Back-up quarterback Marty Wright turns to hand off the ball in the Spartans' home game against Monmouth-Roseville on September 12th. Wright took over to close out the contest as St. Joseph-Ogden rolled to post a 42-8 win over the visiting Titans.

Number 8

Spartan head coach Dick Duval

Shot on August 29, this photo of St. Joseph-Ogden head football coach Dick Duval is the first of two to make the top ten list of most-viewed photos on the PhotoNews Media website last month. Here, the veteran prep coach gives a post-game talk to his players after the SJO's season opening win at Winnebago. Duval and the Spartans, ranked #6 in Class 3A at the time, defeated the Indians in their season opener, 36-20. The latest Associate Press poll has St. Joseph-Ogden ranked #3 in the state.

Number 7

Spartan lineman Jake Renfrew

At #7 last month, this sweet photo of St. Joseph-Ogden defensive lineman Jake Renfrew battling to get around Monticello's Matt Baker in their week 5 prep football game. Renfrew and the lightning fast SJO defense used their quickness and tenaciousness to hold the #4 ranked Sages and their potent pass offense to just one TD. The Spartans improved to 5-0 after the 26-7 road victory on September 25th.

Number 6

Dick Duval, St. Joseph-Ogden

This photo of St. Joseph-Ogden head football coach Dick Duval watching his team during pregame warm-up before the start of the Spartans' season opener against Winnebago on August 29th. Duval, who won the first game of what will be his final season at the helm of the Spartan program, 36-20, will retire as head coach and athletic director at the end of the season. With five state runner-up titles to his credit, Duval has led the Spartans to consecutive state playoff appearances since 1991. Click here to see our collection of SJO's longtime girdiron guru through the years.

Number 5

Ben Snodgrass

Unity defensive end Ben Snodgrass fires off the line after the Monticello snap during the Rocket's home game on Saturday, September 19th. The game was later postponed early in the second quarter due inclement weather in the area and finished on Saturday when the Sages prevailed in a 27-20 decision. The Rockets fall to 3-1 on the season and face Maroa-Forsyth in their next game on Friday.

Number 4

Unity Rocket student fan

Fan photos were a popular attraction on the PhotoNews Media website last month. Here is the first of three of our faces from the crowd during Unity's home football game against Monticello. See our collection of fan photos from 2015 here . .

Number 3

Football game spectator cheering for his team

Settling in at #3 is this picture of a student fan cheering for his Unity Rockets during the team's home football game against Monticello. Unfortunately, the visiting Sages went on to defeat the Rockets 27-20 on Saturday when the game resumed after a weather-related delay the night before. The Rockets fell to 3-1 on the season while the Sages remained undefeated at 4-0.

Number 2

Lyons Township's Stephanie Lin

This commemorative 16x20 fine art sports print of 3x state badminton champion Stephanie Lin created by PhotoNews was the second most popular image on the PhotoNews site. This past May, Lin became third IHSA state champion in the sport to win three state championship singles titles in badminton. The Lyons Township athlete is the first win three consecutive state titles. See our collection of photos spanning Lin's three year reign at badminton state here . . .

#1 Most-viewed photo for August

Fan photo from Oscar Hicks Field

Taken during part 2 of Unity's home football game against Monticello on September 19, our most-viewed photo for the month of September is of a fan in the stands shielding the sun from his eyes with a soda bottle. The game originally kicked off a half hour early only to be called due a persistent lightning display to the north on Friday evening. Following safety guidelines, school officials reschedule the game to resume the following day at 1pm back Oscar Hicks Field. The Sages rallied in the third quarter of the Okaw Valley Conference contest to defeat the Rockets 27-20 on Saturday to remain undefeated at 4-0 for the season. See all the game photos here . . .

September 29, 2015

Ten hard-hitting pics from the SJO/Monticello game

It was a beautiful early fall evening at Monticello High School where the Spartans of St. Joseph-Ogden squared off with the Sages. Both teams, ranked in the Class 3A top ten, entered the game with unblemished 4-0 records with the winner moving possibly one step closer to securing all or a piece of the Okaw Valley Conference title. Spartan head coach Dick Duval's plan to keep the game clock running and allow the Sages as few possessions as possible to limit scoring opportunities paid off in the 26-7 victory on Friday.

After stunning Unity a week earlier, Monticello looked to give the SJO football squad its biggest test of the season. With Division I prospect Brandon Wildman clear to return his position at quarterback after suffering a shoulder injury against the Rockets along with their crack corp of receivers and potent spread offense, the Sages were primed to hand the visiting team their first loss of the season.

However, it was the St. Joseph-Ogden's defense that issued a stern notice to future teams on their schedule favoring the spread offense that they are a force to be reckoned with if they want to air out the ball. The Spartan defensive backs pressured the Sages' receivers to give linebackers and defensive ends the opportunity to tally multiple tackles for losses on nearly every Monticello possession.

Despite having the overall size advantage in the trenches, the Monticello line on both side of the ball was unable to consistently fend off the quicker, more explosive Spartans. The offensive line created holes sufficient for SJO's Ty Brown and Griffin Meeker to barrel up the gut with old fashion bread adn butter running allowing the Spartans to walk the ball down the field and eat up valuable time on the clock.

Winning their fifth contest of the season, St. Joseph-Ogden secured a playoff berth and stays tied at the top of the OVC standings tied with Maroa-Forsyth. If Monticello (4-1), who face the undefeated Trojans as their homecoming opponent, wins they not only punch their playoff ticket, but will help the Spartans take sole possession of the conference crown for at least week - until SJO and M-F meet in week seven action or the Unity Rockets a week later.

Click here to see our collection of more than 50 photos from this game. Here's a look at ten of the editor's favorites photos capturing the hard-hitting, physical play from the two teams destined to make the 2016 IHSA state football post-season next month.

Sages' ball carrier Matt Baker

Our top photo from this game is this one of Matt Baker making contact trying to run through St. Joseph-Ogden defender Evan Hawkins during first half action. See more photos of Baker in his PhotoNews collection here . . .

St. Joseph-Ogden's lightning fast defensive line

Led by Spartans' Casey Modglin, he and teammates Austin Luebchow and Evan Hawkins explode into action during first quarter action against the Sages. Allowing just one score, the St. Joseph-Ogden defensive line used their quickness to fill gaps and successfully harass Monticello quarterbacks the entire game.

St. Joseph-Ogden's Casey Reveal is double-teamed while Monticello quarterback Brandon Wildman looks to make a deep throw. Reveal was a thorn in the Sages' side having a stellar performance recording numerous sacks and tackles for losses on the night. Here's more photos of Reveal playing one of the best games of his prep career . . .

Monticello's Caleb Hanson on the run

Moving as fast as he can, Monticello quarterback Caleb Hanson tries to unsuccessfully escape blitzing SJO lineman Evan Hawkins in their conference battle of unbeaten. Here's a collection of photos of Hanson from both this game and the Sages' road win over Unity: Caleb Hanson photo gallery.

SJO's Gage Haga and Evan Hawkins making a stop

Matt Baker tries to keep running despite being tied up by St. Joseph-Ogden's Gage Haga and Evan Hawkins

Ty Brown blasts off

St. Joseph-Ogden's Ty Brown blasts off through the Monticello defense during second quarter action. Led by Brown's ground pound effort, the Spartans rolled to 26-7 Okaw Conference win and tied with Maroa-Forsyth at a perfect 5-0 for the conference crown.

SJO's Jake Renfrew battles to get around Monticello's Matt Baker

SJO lineman Jake Renfrew battles to get around Monticello's Matt Baker during second half action.

SJO's Casey Reveal and Monticello's Keegan Kerr

St. Joseph-Ogden's Casey Reveal (right) and Monticello's Keegan Kerr go at it in the trenches.

Monticello linebacker Konnor Bundy

Monticello linebacker Konnor Bundy brings down Spartan running back Ty Brown during first half action. Here's our collection of photos of Bundy here and SJO's Brown behind this link.

Wesley Kibler and Konnor Bundy

September 25, 2015 - Monticello, IL - Monticello linebacker Konnor Bundy blocks Spartans' Wesley Kibler nose-to-nose in their conference game on Friday. After a stunning victory over the Unity Rockets a week earlier, the Sages fell 26-7 to visiting St. Joseph-Ogden

September 28, 2015

Great Kiermaier catch

Eight days ago we did a blog post featuring photos of Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kiermaier from his collegiate baseball career playing for Parkland College. This morning, our editor happened to find this video of the former Cobra star making this unbelievable catch over the wall robbing Orioles' Manny Machado of much needed home run at Camden Yards.

September 23, 2015

What an update! 32 new galleries online

It has been a busy two weeks and we've added more than 30 new photo galleries to our picture archive as continue to rebuild our online collection. While most of the more than 200 photos are from last Saturday's Okaw Valley Conference football showdown between the Unity Rockets and the Monticello Sages, we reached as far back to 2009 and added a few familiar faces and oldies of a couple of members from the 2010 Unity football squad. We also added more than 60 images to fan gallery of supportive spectators cheering their team on to victory.

Follow this link back to the PhotoNews Media website to see a complete listing of the latest updated and new photo galleries. Here's a look at some of our favorite athletes and their collections added in the past two weeks.

Unity's Taylor Black

October 30, 2010 - Tolono, IL - Quarterback Taylor Black looks for an open receiver during the Rockets' home game against Monticello. Unity (9-1) rolled to a 34-7 first round playoff win over visiting Monticello (5-5). Click the link to see our entire Taylor Black photo collection from his senior year with the Unity Rockets.

Ryan Thompsen running at the SJO 5K

August 10, 2014 - St. Joseph, IL - John Ryan Thompsen runs during the first mile of his race at the annual SJO 5k race on Saturday. Proceeds from the race are donated to the St. Joseph-Ogden high school and junior high distance running programs. Thompsen finished the course in 15 minutes and 41.3 seconds.

Unity's Rebecca Maxwell

October 2, 2014 - Tolono, IL - Unity's Rebecca Maxwell celebrates a point for the Rockets in their home volleyball match against Rantoul. We have more volley photos of Maxwell and other members of the Unity volleyball squad coming soon. In the meantime, see more photos of two-sport athlete Rebecca Maxwell from last fall here.

Parkland's Danny Winkler in 2010

Back on April 2 in 2010, Parkland's Danny Winkler winds up to unload a pitch in game one of his team's home doubleheader against visiting Lewis & Clark Community College. The Cobras won the two contests played at nearby Centennial High School 10-0 and 5-0 to claim the nightcap. We've got 19 more photos of Winkler for that year to see. Just click here.

Monticello's Isiah Florey

September 19, 2015 - Tolono, IL - Monticello's Isiah Florey turns his momentum upfield while carrying the ball in second half action of their road Okaw Valley Conference game against Unity. After a weather delay forced the game to be postponed until a day later. The Sages went on to defeat the Rockets in thriller, 27-20. See Florey's photo collection . . .

A-O's Clint Mueller

September 4, 2009 - Tolono, IL - Argenta-Oreana's Clint Mueller breaks through the Unity defensive effort during first quarter action against host Unity. The Rockets, ranked as one of the top ten Class 3A teams in the state in several polls, beat the Bombers 35-13 to remain a front runner in the Okaw Valley (Black) Conference standings.

Senior harrier Lauren Van Vlierbergen

November 8, 2014 - Peoria, IL - Lauren Van Vlierbergen runs the first lap of her race during the Class 3A state cross country meet at Detweiller Park. The senior, who holds her three-mile school record and became a three-time All-Stater, finished second overall with a time of 16:48. A few days more than a month later, Van Vlierbergen was later recognized for her athletic and scholastic achievements as a national winner of the Wendy's High School Heisman award. We've just started her collection and there are more great photos to come in the months ahead. See ten more photos from her race . . .

Ryan Copley pitching for the Cobras in 2010

April 2, 2010 - Champaign, IL - Parkland's Ryan Copley winds up to unload a pitch during doubleheader action against visiting Lewis & Clark Community College. The Cobras won the two contests played at Champaign Centennial's facilities 10-0 and 5-0 in the nightcap.

Nate Whitfield runs at state

November 8, 2014 - Peoria, IL - Giving his all to reach the finish line, Glenbrook North's Nate Whitfield runs to the finish line in the Class 3A IHSA State Cross Country Finals on Saturday. The junior finished the course in 15:09 to place 57th overall.

Unity fan cheering

This is one of the newest addition to our fan faces from the crowd section on iphotonews.com. Ringing her cowbell, a student fan cheers for Unity during their home football game against Monticello on September 18th. The Sages went on to defeat the Rockets 27-20 on Saturday when the game resumed after a weather-related delay. See lots more fan pics from this game via this link.

Scott Rohl

September 2009 - Tolono, IL - Sports portrait of Unity lineman Scott Rohl for his commemorative senior night poster. Rohl was an outstanding lineman on the 2009 Rocket football team. See his photo gallery from back in the day.

Unity fullback Chandler Cousins playing against Monticello

September 18, 2015 - Tolono, IL - Chandler Cousins takes a hand off from Unity quarterback Steven Migut in the Rockets' home game on Friday. Despite his best efforts Unity suffered their first loss of the season in a heartbreaking 27-20 loss to the Monticello Sages. Check out the other 23 photos we have in his collection here.

Ben Snodgrass tries to make a tackle

September 18, 2015 - Tolono, IL - Unity defensive end Ben Snodgrass makes a quick cut to try and tackle Monticello ball carrier Matt Baker during the Rocket's home game on Saturday. The game was later postponed early in the second quarter due inclement weather in the area and finished on Saturday when the Sages prevailed in a 27-20 decision. The Rockets fall to 3-1 on the season and face Maroa-Forsyth in their next game on Friday.

September 18, 2015 - Tolono, IL - Another fan shot of faces along the fence from the crowd at Unity's home football game against Monticello. Want to see who else we got pictures of in the stands? click here.