Wednesday marks the halfway point of the high school football regular season. With that in mind, here’s a mid-season report on the metro teams in the Journal Star area:
DEER CREEK-MACKINAW (2-2, 0-2): The Chiefs have two wins against HOI Small schools (Tremont, LeRoy) and two losses against HOI Large schools (El Paso-Gridley and Eureka). Dee-Mack has struggled to get its ground game in full gear, but the Chiefs have one of the better 1-2 receiving duos in go-to situations in Levi Scheuermann ( 12 catches, 192 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Caden Slack (11 catches, 185 yards, 1 TD). Junior QB Zach Horve has passed for 419 yards on 30-for-54 accuracy. Dakota Brush has a team-high 176 yards rushing, with 4 TDs. Defensively, Wade Wiegand has a team-high 64 tackles (22 solos) with one sack. Jared Kilby has three interceptions.
Next: Friday at Heyworth (1-3, 1-1).
ELMWOOD/BRIMFIELD (4-0, 2-0): The Trojans have racked up a Prairieland Conference high 164 points (41.0 per game) in victories against Mid-County, Aledo Mercer County, Peoria Heights/Quest and Havana/Midwest Central. The defense has only allowed 41 points. A steady stable of backs have combined for 284 yards rushing per game, led by Luke Wyatt (334 yards, 6 TDs). Charlie McKinty has thrown for 247 yards and two TDs. Senior linebacker Chase Gore has 33 tackles (11 solos).
“We started out a little banged up and are now back at full strength,” Elmwood coach Todd Hollis said. “I feel we are doing an excellent job of preparing and communicating. Attention to details is always something that can be improved upon.”
Next: Friday at Bushnell-Prairie City/West Prairie (2-2, 1-1).
EUREKA (3-1, 1-1): The Hornets own come-from-behind last-drive wins against LeRoy and Dee-Mack as well as a blowout victory against the Flanagan-Cornell co-op. The only loss came In Week 2 against Class 1A No. 3 Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley. Eureka continues to improve each week with eight juniors and five sophomores making up 17 of the 22 starting positions. Sophomore QB Matt Martin leads with 314 yards passing and 220 rushing. Junior Joel Baer has 22 tackles (11 solos), with three for loss yardage.
“At this point we are in a continuous building state,” Eureka coach Jason Bachman said. “Each week we seem to clean up some of our mistakes and take the next step to becoming a complete football team. Each week in the HOIC is a dog fight. The quality of teams and coaching is outstanding. We just have to keep getting better.”
Next: Friday vs. Colfax Ridgeview (3-1, 1-1).
FARMINGTON (4-0, 2-0): The Farmers are ranked No. 3 in Class 3A and have outscored their four opponents 138-62. Senior QB Hayden Bradt has 918 yards passing and 12 TDs. Dash Anderson ran only four times in a 40-14 win against Peoria Heights, but still has 648 yards rushing and 6 TDs. Jarod DePriest has 37 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss and two sacks.
“We are getting better every week,” Farmington coach Toby Vallas said. “ We started with a lot of inexperience but we are starting to gel. I think mentally we are all getting on the same page.”
Next: Friday at Havana/Midwest Central (0-4, 0-2).
ILLINOIS VALLEY CENTRAL (1-3, 1-3): The Grey Ghosts started the season with a 34-13 win against Tolono Unity, but have lost their last three -- including a last-minute 42-41 setback Friday at Champaign St. Thomas More. Junior QB Alex Merlo had a huge night against St. Thomas More with 306 total yards (156 passing, 150 rushing) and five TDs. Merlo’s 52-yard scoring run with 2:43 left in the fourth gave IVC a 41-34 lead.
“We need to get better fundamentally and more disciplined as a team, both offensively and defensively assignment-wise,” said IVC coach Tim Heinz. “We’re playing hard.”
Next: Friday vs. Prairie Central (3-1, 3-1).
PEORIA HEIGHTS/QUEST (0-4, 0-2): A young Patriots squad has been outscored 167-40 in losses to Ridgewood, Mid-County, Elmwood/Brimfield and Farmington. Senior Adrian Hinton has 244 yards rushing and one TD to lead the offense. He also has a kick return for a score.
Despite 12 consecutive regular season losses, second-year coach Adell Hawks has seen positive signs from a group that starts eight underclassmen on defense and six on offense.
"Week by week the kids are starting to show improvement and believe in each other,” Hawks said. “Something that can be improved every week is understanding our fundamentals and the sense of urgency.”
Next: Friday at Rushville-Industry (2-2, 1-1).
PRINCEVILLE (4-0, 2-0): Just like last year at mid-season, the Princes have scored the most points (165) and allowed the fewest (21) of any JS-area small school. After a 14-7 overtime win in Week 1 vs. Lewistown, Princeville has beaten its last three foes by a combined 151-7. But the biggest test to date comes Friday against visiting two-time defending league champ Annawan/Wethersfield.
Senior all-stater Adam Snedden has a team-high 398 yards rushing and 9 TDs. The Princes are averaging 277.8 yards on the ground. Carter Johnson and Eli Wieland each have 15.5 tackles on a defense that has three interception returns for scores.
“Each week we’ve given our team things to work on, improve and we’re doing that,” Princeville coach Jon Carruthers said. “We’re steadily getting better each week. I like our progress. Every team across the state has room to improve after Week 4. Little technique things that can be big things against good teams. That’s what we’re looking to improve on each week.”
Next: Friday vs. Annawan/Wethersfield (2-2, 2-0).
TREMONT (1-3, 1-1): The Turks may be the best 1-3 team in the area, with their three losses coming by a total of 12 points -- including a four overtime 28-22 heartbreaker Friday against LeRoy. Tremont has been tied or had the lead in the fourth quarter of every game.
The Turks allowed LeRoy only 191 yards in total offense. They’ve allowed only 61 points (15.3) in regulation all season.
Caiden Buster has team-highs of 348 yards rushing and 30 tackles (17 solos, one tackle for loss). Nathan Hately is 10-for-25 passing for 160 yards and a TD. Jake Barnewolt has 12 tackles for loss, among his 14 solo tackles, including two fumble recoveries.
“I could not ask for any more from my kids than what they have given,” said Tremont coach Zach Zehr. “We have played extremely hard, tough, and physical for all four quarters of every game. Their effort has been incredible.”
Next: Friday at El Paso-Gridley (2-2, 1-1).
Stan Morris can be reached at 686-3214 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @stanmorrispjs