Tom Batters
In this 2008 file photo, Cody Gilfillan (No. 21) battles Matt Abraham of Richwoods for possession of the ball.

Before the start of the 2007 season, Peoria Notre Dame coach Mike Bare had a tough decision to make. He knew that one of his freshman, Cody Gilfillan, was a speedy forward who could score plenty of goals, but the team did not have enough depth on the defense.

So Bare moved Gilfillan to the back line, a position he had never played before.

Last week, Bare smiled as he reflected on that decision.

“Cody is a phenomenal athlete, and a great example to his teammates,” Bare said. “He said, ‘wherever you need me, that’s where I’ll play,’ and he did an excellent job as an outside back. He brought a whole new element to that position. He could make something happen, if we needed him to step up and make a run toward the net.”

Gilfillan credited fellow backs Matt Barkley and Ben Ralph, seniors on last year’s state championship team, for helping him make the transition to defense.

“I knew, if I got beat, they would be right there,” he said.

Gilfillan will switch back to forward, his natural position, this year. Bare said opposing defenses better look out.

“I think he might surprise some people,” Bare said. “Other teams might focus on (Michael) Schrader or (Vince) Cicciarelli, but Cody was our third-leading scorer last year, even though he played in the back. This year, we expect him to be one of the top scorers in the area.”

Bare said Gilfillan uses “crafty moves” and “explosive closing speed” to beat defenders one-on-one, or run down a player who gets a jump.

“He’ll run you down, take the ball off your foot and find a way to score,” Bare said. “The thing I admire most about him, though, is how hard he works. I never have to say anything negative to Cody in practice. He just shows up, works hard and never complains about anything.”

Gilfillan also played varsity basketball and baseball last year as a sophomore. In baseball, he was among the top five players in the Mid-state 6 Conference in just about every offensive category. In basketball, he was a valuable guard off the bench for coach Eddie Mathews.

Gilfillan said he would like to play soccer or baseball in college, and the University of Notre Dame would be his first choice.

“I don’t think many college programs are in the market for a 5-6 point guard,” he said. “But, I might be able to make it as a baseball or soccer player.”


Notre Dame beat Sacred Heart Griffin, 4-2, Friday in its season opener. Gilfillan had a goal and an assist. Schrader, Brett Lane, and Jeff Cassidy also scored for the Irish, who host Christian Brothers (Mo.) at 6 p.m. Friday.


Richwoods won its season opener, 3-0, at East Peoria Wednesday, which gave Knights coach Tony DeMoss a big sigh of relief.

“We’re so young. We started eight sophomores. That’s unheard of,” he said. “So, to come out and get a win is big for us.”

Sebastian Geoffnoy scored two goals for the Knights, and just missed another one late in the game, after he was awarded a penalty kick.

“Sebastian has one job: to run diagonally, get the ball, and finish,” DeMoss said. Joey Broms also scored for the Knights. Taylor Huffman had an assist.

Richwoods played Granite City to a scoreless tie Saturday. The Knights play at Moline tomorrow.

Results beat Woodruff, 1-0, Tuesday.


Morton coach Brian Deters, whose team ended Dunlap’s reign as Mid-Illini Conference champions last year, called the Eagles the favorite to won the conference this year.

“Dunlap is the team to beat,” Deters said to Morton Times-News sports editor Bryan Veginski last week. “They have the most returning players.”

Those two conference front-runners played to a 1-1 tie Tuesday. Jacob Abou-Hanna had the only goal for the Eagles.