The Hawks fell to 0-9 despite getting off to a great start on Saturday at QU-Stadium.
Here’s a look at Saturday’s stars:
1. Austin Fisher
In the Bearcats’ wing-T scheme, the quarterback is usually no more than a caretaker. Fisher showed why Carl Poekler mixes in the spread. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 195 yards and four touchdowns. He hit six different receivers and didn’t seem at all flustered when the Hawks put some pressure on him, which the QU front finally did for once.
2. Ohene Akuoku
The freshman from Springfield Southeast had all of seven tackles coming into the game. He had nine tackles and broke up a pass. His biggest stop came early in the game when the Bearcats tried a fake punt. He was the only Hawk who didn’t fall for the fake and wound up bringing down McKendree running back Marlone Chenault to help preserve the Hawks’ early lead.
3. Jason Rejfek
The McKendree linebacker had a problem keeping his helmet on during a portion of the game. He came up big all game long though with a team-high eight stops. He also recovered a fumble by QU quarterback Bobby Brenneisen that led to a score. He also had an interception of Brenneisen.
QU was without running back Sterling Ross, who missed the game with a left leg injury. …The Hawks led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter marked their first lead at the end of a quarter for the first time all season. … Former Hawks Ryan Smith and Emmitt Harriel, who are now defensive backs at McKendree, had little impact on the game. Smith had four tackles and Harriel had two stops. … QU had two sacks after having just two the entire season coming into the game. … With Culver-Stockton College’s 38-33 victory over Graceland to end a 32-game losing streak, Texas College of Tyler, Texas, and Edward Waters College of Jacksonville, Fla., now share the dubious honor of having the NAIA’s longest losing streak at 18 games. Dordt College of Sioux Center, Iowa is next at 17, Olivet Nazarene is fourth at 14, Kentucky Christian is fifth at 12 and QU is one of four teams tied for sixth with nine straight losses.
The Quincy High School football team should be thankful it landed in the Class 7A bracket that it did. Had the Blue Devils not been sent north to face Minooka in a first-round game on Saturday, they would have been caught up in the East St. Louis web.
I feel for the schools that have been caught in the middle of this game of musical chairs.
O’Fallon went from having to play Belleville East to having a bye to having once again to face East on less than two days’ notice. Belleville West went from having to play ESL to getting a chance to play their crosstown rivals from East to having once again to play an ESL squad that will have a bit of a chip on its shoulder.
Former Quincy University men's basketball player Larry Dumas has landed at Robert Morris-Chicago.
Hayes and Dumas both left the QU program in December last year. Thanks to an off-court incident, Dumas never played for the Hawks after his transfer from Southeastern (Iowa) Community College. He was charged with felony battery after an on-campus fight last fall. Dumas decided it was in his best interest to sit out until his case was resolved. He left Quincy before a jury found him not guilty of the charges during a March trial. Robert Morris will be Dumas’ fourth college in as many years. He spent his freshman season at Western Illinois University, his sophomore season at Southeastern and part of his junior year at QU. Robert Morris is close to the 6-foot-2 guard’s Chicago Heights home. He is listed as a junior on the Robert Morris roster and presumably has two years of eligibility remaining.
Hayes left the Hawks after being a key player off the bench early on during the 2009-10 campaign. He averaged 9.2 points per game in his 10-game QU career. He spent his first two seasons at Danville Area Community College. Robert Morris is also close to home for Hayes, a Chicago native who played at Crane High School. The 6-1 point guard will have one year of eligibility at Robert Morris.
They are the second and third former Hawks to play at Robert Morris. They follow in the footsteps of Jeff Wilson, who played for QU coach Marty Bell for one season before finishing his eligibility at Robert Morris.
It’s the last batch of grades for October. Feel free to turn yours in via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or text (217-617-9437) during Wednesday’s edition of the award-winning WGEM SportsCenter. Listen in on ESPN 1440 or at wgem.com.
A — Jonathan Byrd. Talk about your walk-off winner. Making a hole-in-one is hard enough. How about draining one with dark falling while your in the middle of a playoff and a PGA Tour victory hanging in the balance? That’s what Byrd did Sunday in winning the — catch your breath — Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Childrens Open in Las Vegas. It was so dark that Byrd didn’t even know if his ball had gone in or now. He put the trust in the few people that were around the green who were cheering wildly. Can you imagine trying to hit after him, which is what Martin Laird and Cameron Percy had to do. They both dunked their tee shots in the water as Byrd wrapped up the win worth just over three-quarters of a million bucks.
B — Brian Wilson’s beard. Show of hands for those of you who plan to watch the Giants-Rangers World Series from the start until the bitter end. (I’ll be watching the Bulls’ season opener vs. Oklahoma City tonight.) So, Fox will have to do something to get people interested. So expect Joe Buck and Co. to help make a star out of the Giants’ quirky stopper. They’ll show the people in San Fran wearing replicas of his silly beard, and Buck will wax poetically about Wilson’s mohawk and weird ways.
C —Waterloo football. They were on the local radar last week since the Bulldogs were Quincy Notre Dame’s Week 9 opponent. The Raiders rolled them 55-7. Less than 24 hours later, Waterloo found it drew QND in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs. Think they can get 49 points better in a week? I doubt it, but at least they made it to the postseason.
D — East St. Louis football. Well, no one in the Class 7A football playoff field will have to worry about one of the state’s best teams after the Illinois High School Associationgave the Flyers the boot from the field on Tuesday. Seems that ESL used some ineligible players earlier in the year and had to forfeit five games, which made them ineligible for the playoffs. The IHSA has been investigating the case for a while. Wonder why it took them until three days after the playoff field was set to figure out that the Flyers had cheated.
F — Wade Phillips. The injury to Tony Romo will give the Cowboys an out for their cruddy season, but truth be told, the team was in the dumper before Romo busted his clavicle in the loss to the Giants on Monday night. As one who follows the Cowboys because of my man love for EIU’s greatest football export (sorry Mike Shanahan), I’ve grown tired of the dopey Phillips, so I can only imagine how upset true Cowboys fans are with their team’s head coach. Thanks to Jerry Jones, who wants a coach who will bow down to all of his wishes, the Cowboys are mere pretenders to the NFL throne. Until he takes a hands-off approach and hires a real coach, Cowboys fans — and Romo lovers — are in for a lot of headaches.
(Sorry for the lack of a Slap of the Week post last week. Got a little too busy around here. I’m back and better than ever though!)
Two wind-aided thoughts to get you through the day:
1. Welcome back, NBA
It doesn’t get the same type of fan fare that the MLB and NFL seasons do when those leagues open up shop for the season, but today is the first day of the 2010-11 NBA season. The big game of the night is a likely preview of the spring’s Eastern Conference finals when Dwyane Wade and his new sidekicks in Miami head to Boston to see what Shaquille O’Neal looks like in green. If you care, LeBron has a new commercial out. It’s pretty lame. Maybe he should have tried the self-deprecating humor act when he left Cleveland during the summer. I’ll go with a Lakers-Celtics final with the Heat nipping on the C’s tails for Eastern Conference supremacy.
2. MLB should leave the playoffs alone
I’ll admit that I wasn’t wild about the wild card when Major League Baseball came up with the trick in the mid 1990s, but it’s served its purpose. More teams are in the mix later in the season and it gives those teams in divisions where the leader is running away something else to aim for. But the news that Major League Baseball is looking to expand its playoffs again bothers me. There’s something special about being a playoff team in baseball. Right now, the NBA and NHL seasons — and to a lesser extent the NFL — is all about jockeying for playoff position. If you can’t make the playoffs, especially in the NBA and NHL, you’re pretty awful. I’d hate to see baseball water down its playoffs with more teams.
I’ll be phoning it in this morning on the award-winning WGEM SportsCenter. Too much stuff going on back at the plant to make it over for my weekly dose of fun. Still can’t keep me away from the grade book though. I’ll call in around 8:20 or so on Wednesday to break these down with Josh Houchins. Listen in on ESPN 1440 or wgem.com:
A — QHS girls tennis team. A second straight sectional title and a sectional singles crown for sophomore Kadi Fauble — not a bad weekend at Greeman Tennis Center for the Blue Devils last weekend. Now Fauble, who is 39-1, and the doubles team of Jenny Hill and Kristi Rose will try to make some noise at the state tournament this weekend. The Blue Devils can thank Hill and Rose for putting them over the top when it came to winning sectional after they bounced a team from Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin that they had lost to twice earlier this season. That win in the semifinals clinched the title for the Blue Devils.
B — Athletic Propulsion Labs. The little-known shoe company isn’t Nike or adidas, but they’re going to get some major play thanks to the NBA, which on Tuesday outlawed a pair of the company’s shoes because they gave players a competitive advantage. Now at $300 a crack, it’s not like everyone’s going to go out and buy them. But I’d have to think they can’t hurt my sad noon performances at the Quincy Family YMCA. And the NBA did the company a huge favor for the free pub for the company with its ban.
C — Mike Quade. Well, he got the major league managerial job that he’s always wanted. Guess the Cubs’ brass was impressed with his cameo late in the season. Now it’s up to the newest Coach Q in Chicago to try to break the 102-year curse that is Cubs baseball. Best of luck to him.
D — Illinois State University. The Normal school has asked Pleasant Plains High School to stop using a logo that ISU says looks too much like it’s own “Reggie Redbird” logo. Glad to see the folks at ISU have a lot of time on their hands. Plains has to stop using the logo immediately on the web, but can wait until the school uniforms deteriorate before having to replace those. If ISU wants the logo off the uniforms, the university should have to pay to replace them. This is just a stupid PR move by ISU.
F — Culver-Stockton College football. I realize it’s easy to kick a team when they’re down. But how in the world can anyone score 90 points in a college football game like Lindenwood did over the weekend in a 90-19 victory over the Wildcats in St. Charles, Mo.? And I thought the Quincy University football team was having trouble in its 62-50 loss to Iowa Wesleyan, which almost deserves an honorable mention “F.” Some have said the Lions should have called off the dogs. With younger kids and high schoolers, I think that’s appropriate, but this was a college game with athletes on scholarship on both sides. If you don’t like what Lindenwood did, that’s tough. C-SC should have tackled them if they didn’t want the Lions to score.
There are probably some in Cardinal Nation who aren’t happy about the fact that Tony La Russa’s coming back for his 16th season with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. The team announced Monday that TLR and most of his staff would return. Watching him at work can be kind of mind-numbing at times, but you can’t deny his success. I’d much rather have a known quantity like La Russa at the helm than some unknown. Now if he and Dave Duncan can only get something out of Kyle Lohse, figure out the middle infield and talk their bosses into opening the vault for Albert Pujols, then we’ll all have a Merry Christmas.
2. I hate the Jacksonville Jaguars
Up until about 10:25 on Monday night I had no reason to even think about the NFL’s most forgetful franchise. But there was Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio calling time out after time out with his team down 23-3 againt Tennessee and playing defense against the Titans monster of a running back, Chris Johnson. Guess Del Rio really wanted to see Johnson score, since that’s what the dynamic runner did on a fourth-down play with 1 minute, 40 seconds left to play. The 35-yard TD run pushed Johnson over the 100-yard mark for the game and put a bow on a 30-3 win. And as ESPN’s Mike Tirico said, “That Chris Johnson touchdown just ruined some fantasy football games.” Yes it did. As a result of Del Rio’s dopey decisions, the Notorious DOBs of the prestigious Art Schlichter Fantasy Football League are no longer undefeated. Talk about your bad beats.
The Hawks fell to 0-2 in games in which they scored at least 50 points when they dropped a Mid-States Football Association Midwest Division game at QU-Stadium.
Here’s a look at Saturday’s stars:
1. Sterling Ross
The redshirt freshman had his coming out party against the Tigers. He had just 218 yards on the season coming into the game, but finished with 251 yards and two touchdowns on 30 attempts. Ross showed the ability to be elusive and strong in slashing his way through the Iowa Wesleyan defense. It looks like the Hawks may have finally found their feature back after a half season of looking for someone to assume that role.
2. Greg Fields
The Iowa Wesleyan senior made one of the biggest plays of the game early in the second quarter. With the game tied at 21, QU’s Earl Love had just intercepted a pass from Iowa Wesleyan quarterback Kevin McConnell near midfield. As Love tried to run the ball back, he got caught up in a traffic jam. Fields came in and swiped the ball from him and went 48 yards the other way for a touchdown. It was one of the weirdest touchdowns I’ve ever witnessed. Fields also caught a TD pass late in the game to help salt away the win.
3. Kevin McConnell
The Tigers’ quarterback played a key role in the Tigers’ win. He didn’t make many mistakes in tearing apart the Hawks’ secondary. He passed for 435 yards and five touchdowns. He made several key third-down conversion passes that kept drives alive and added 45 rushing yards. His poise in the pocket helped make the difference.
The win was Iowa Wesleyan’s first over QU since 1987. The Hawks now lead the all-time series 8-2. … At 0-7, QU is off to its worst start since Bill Terlisner’s first year when the Hawks lost their first nine games of the year in 2000. … QU was without freshman wide receiver Jeacky Charles, who missed the game with an ankle injury. The Hawks also didn’t have backup quarterback Trevor Durham available because of a head injury. … Ross credited his big day to the play of the Hawks’ offense line, which looked as good as it has all season, and the fact he has a new pair of cleats. … Iowa Wesleyan head coach Kent Anderson is in his first year at the college head coach after spending 16 years as a head coach in the German Football League. … If Hawks fans want to take any solace in other school’s problems, Culver-Stockton College set a dubious school record on Saturday, allowing the most points in school history in a 90-19 loss at Lindenwood. It was C-SC’s 31st straight loss.
You wonder what kind of deadline this group works under. The dates aren’t going to change. You’d think that they could wait until August or so to start printing them so that they can get out to all of their merchants for the holiday rush. Who buys a calendar before Thanksgiving anyway?
Got a sneak peek at the Cardinals’ 2011 calendar. Looks like Ryan Ludwick is still there, but he didn’t get traded until late July.
There has to be a better way for Turner to put out its product.
It’s the 40th birthday hangover edition of the grades. Listen to WGEM SportsCenter host Josh Houchins and I break these down around 8:20 or so on Wednesday’s program. Listen in on ESPN 1440 or wgem.com. Go to the sports page to find us. If you have a grade, text it in at (217) 617-9437:
A — Roy Halladay. This happened pretty early in the grading cycle, but the Phillies ace still needs to be recognized for his playoff no-hitter that he tossed in Game 1 of the NLDS last Wednesday against the Reds. Halladay’s had a heck of the season and is the poster boy for “The Year of the Pitcher” thanks to that regular-season perfect game he tossed. Wonder if the guy’s ever going to get any endorsements. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him in a commercial. If the Phillies win the World Series, that’ll probably change.
B — Steve Spurrier. I’d have to think that “The Old Ballcoach” is the only football coach in the Southeastern Conference. Most all of the others are control freaks who I could care less for — Alabama’s Nick Saban, Florida’s Urban Meyer, LSU’s Les Miles, Tennessee’s Derek Dooley and Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino to name a few. I don’t think Georgia’s Mark Richt is too bad, but he’s probably like the rest of them. Now someone will probably point out something I don’t know about Spurrier, but I like the guy. Love the fact that he beat then No. 1-ranked Alabama last week. Meyer has Spurrier to thank for the program he inherited as well.
C — Bobby Cox. The Atlanta Braves skipper bowed out after the team was eliminated by San Francisco, putting an end to his lengthy tenure. For all of his success, he only won one World Seires title. Love that he got kicked out of so many games during his career, but I think he was overrated as a manager. It didn’t take long for Atlanta to replace him with Fredi Gonzalez
D — National League Central in the playoffs. Since the St. Louis Cardinals unexpectedly won the World Series in 2006, the playoffs have been a waste for the National League Central. With the Cincinnati Reds being swept out of this year’s division series by Philadelphia, that makes the NL Central champ 0-12 since 2006 — The Cubs went 0-6 in 2007 and 2008 and the Cardinals were swept by the Dodgers last year. The only playoff win for the division in that time came from the Milwaukee Brewers, who won one game as a wild card in 2008.
F — Brett Favre. Wonder if he’s rethinking his “final” comeback. The Vikings are in the dumper after their 29-20 loss and he’s embroiled in a controversy surrounding some things he allegedly did during his one year with the Jets. Not exactly the way Favre wanted to go out, I assume. His Hall of Fame resume won’t be tarnished by anything that happens this year, but his reputation is taking some severe hits, one’s it will take a while for him to recover from.