By Doug Schroder



Chris Johnson


WINNEBAGO – The communities of Stillman Valley and Winnebago joined together Friday night Sept. 11 for football at the home of the Indians.

For the Stillman Valley Cardinals, the 34-12 win over host Winnebago, helped the team find itself back on track on working its way through the season. The victory gives the Cardinals their first for the year.

Winnebago sits with one win as they prepare for a conference clash with Rockford Lutheran this Friday night.

A ceremonious evening encapsulated the hundreds in attendance and the thousands following the teams. With the stadium ablaze in orange and black, but many Indians fans were wearing t-shirts being sold at the game with Stillman colors and the phrase #stillmanstrong emblazoned across the front. Many of the girls from Stillman and Winnebago also wore white ribbons in their hair with Emily’s name on them.

Tempo and Gazette Editor Doug Schroder was at the game in Winnebago on Friday night.

“There was an air of reverence at the game, both for our fallen first responders and those involved in that tragic accident in Stillman Valley the week prior,” said Schroder.

Mary Gross, of Winnebago, did her usual thing in her ever-patriotic-loving-way as she organized the pregame ceremony in tribute to those lost on 911 and those who serve today. Firefighters, EMTS, and Winnebago policemen all lined up on the field, along with the Winnebago Cheer and Dance squads, and Winnebago Park District football and cheer members (hope I didn’t forget someone), before the game and were part of the tunnel that the football team runs through before every home game.

“Wow! The line usually only comes out to the 10 or 20-yard line,” said Winnebago School Nurse Mary Kate Skaggs.

Mary also takes many photographs of ‘Bago sports and was on the field doing so at the time. The line came out to around the 40 or 50-yard line.

A plane flyover then took place and the game started.

“We held the tribute for those we lost. I thought it was a good crowd. It was a good atmosphere,” Helm said.

The Indians fell to 1-2 on the season with the loss as they attempt to get back on track this Friday night against Rockford Lutheran.

In the Big Northern West season opener, the Head Coach said his team was mentally prepared for the challenge, even though some aspects of the game still needs conditioning.

“I feel like a lot of times, it could be perceived that we didn’t play well, that our defense didn’t play well. We didn’t at times. We failed to execute on fourth downs. We had four turnovers. But I did feel that our defense locked into what we asked them to do.”

Helm said his team didn’t achieve the expectations that had been set in front of them. They couldn’t get the job done. They weren’t afraid to throw themselves in the mix, however.

“There was some heavy hitting going on out there. Both teams were fired up,” noticed editor Doug Schroder.

The offense was finding ways to get back on track, according to Helm.

“There were holes there and we were creating creases. We were throwing the ball effectively at times and then we hit a lull.”

The Indians defense couldn’t quite clamp down in the second half.

“They were moving around up front a lot and we fell off some blocks. We turned the ball over,” Helm said. “We know that at some point we will have to decide if we are going to quit making the same mistakes. If we are going to win again, we have to be able to try harder, it’s been our inability to put ourselves in good situations that gave Stillman the advantage on Friday night.”

The task will be mighty and the challenge will be great as the Indians face the Rockford Lutheran Crusaders, a team who just obliterated their conference co-leader, Dixon, 95-28, on Friday night.

Lutheran stands alone atop the Big Northern West with a focus on a long run in their sights, as the season crosses the one-third point.

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The Winnebago Indians as they break through the sign and run through the tunnel prior to their game against the Stillman Valley Cardinals on Friday, Sept. 11. Doug Schroder photo


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