By Christopher Johnson


Indians knock down Rockets in week 3 game

Winnebago taking down Rock Falls this past week in Friday night football is exactly what it needed to do as it looks to hold ground in a seriously talented Big Northern Conference.

The 45-8 decision gave the Indians a 1-2 mark on the season and helped them climb back towards the pack ahead of a possible.500 maker this Friday night at home against Oregon.

Hawks offense was non-existent in game three of its own regular season.  Stillman Valley shot them down 36-7 to keep itself alive in pursuit, in the Big Northern chase.

Host Winnebago was coming off an opening season stretch that saw them having to deal with State-ranked Genoa-Kingston, followed by State-ranked Byron.

Each time out in their opening contests, the Indians attempted to run an offense that had proven previously effective. The consistent stops set the path towards an 0-2 step off into the fall season.

With the win over Rock Falls in game three, the Indians got things turned around and secured two important things that are often needed to succeed.

Control of the time clock and effective use of team offense could count as one, Locking down the win with a strong opening showing set the tone that now guides the Indians towards a .500 stepping off point into the rest of the season.

Offensive proficiency in the opening periods in the win over Rock Falls helped the Indians establish a better level of player readiness as well.

Extra manpower and extra experience at varsity speed gave a few non-starters, but willing participators, the chance to interact with a different perspective.

Oregon is up next for Winnebago and the host Hawks will be looking for their own first win of the season.

With a win over Oregon, if it occurs in the week four showdown, the Indians at 2-2 will get another chance to provide a serious challenge to the current make-up of the Big Northern leadership board.

Dixon is the week five road trip and the Dukes remain perfect on the season. They stand at the top of the conference along with Byron and Genoa-Kingston, Winnebago’s first two opponents of the season.

On the scoring side, the Dukes also provide the most prolific offensive attack in the highly-contested conference.

After averaging over 42 points per night to start the season, Dixon added 62 in a thumping of Rockford Christian to close down the first trimester of the season and move to 3-0.

Winnebago’s week six opponent was Dixon’s victim this past week. The Indians take on Rockford Christian.

It will be a match where the Indians will be looking at possibly picking up a much needed support win or a potential rebound-victory, in response to how things turned out a week earlier.

As week seven opens in a home game against Stillman Valley, Winnebago could still be standing in playoff position with a possible 3-3 mark with a much lighter schedule to close the season.

They will face the Cardinals at home before the North Boone Vikings visit in week eight. The season closes at Rockford Lutheran on Oct. 22.

Steamers knocked out by DuPec Rivermen

Another victory in their week three game has the DuPec Rivermen right at the top of the Northwest Upstate Illini Conference with a 3-0 record.

The effort put forth in the Friday night 38-24 win over Fulton knocked the leadership council committee member back a step and kept the conference’s lead in limited hands.

It also showed some “soon-to-be” challengers that the 2021 Rivermen are ready to hold and make up ground against just about anyone, familiar, or recently-introduced to one of the best small-school football conferences in the State of Illinois.

The Fulton Steamers defense introduced itself shortly after the Pecatonica-Durand co-op put its first points on the board along the banks of the Mississippi River Friday night.

A successful two-point conversion gave the visitors from the north the 8-0 edge and introduced the former Three Rivers Conference resident to an offense that has proven itself highly-capable.

Fulton replied to the gesture and picked apart a pass on a first quarter play, ending with a six-point score and then managed to tack on one more.

The 8-7 mark held its ground through the first period and gave the Rivermen defense another chance to be recognized as to why it stands near the top of the NUIC.

There would be three additional points collected by the hosts prior to the halftime intermission. The visiting Rivermen would tack on one more score along with an additional two-point bonus to claim the one-strike lead at the turn, 16-10.

DuPec managed its line during the first-trimester closer and eliminated the drives that provided the Steamers the momentum to stay on target throughout the first half of play.

Let-up would not occur in the third either. DuPec once again determined how plays would be run and how often first-downs could be claimed by the Steamers.

As the third quarter came to a close, each team’s efforts had procured them an additional tally, keeping the game within striking distance for the former conference co-leader. The score moved to 24-17 with one to go.

Steamers offense was rolling once in the final frame. A touchdown and culminating extra-point kick kept the game close.  The Rivermen responded with a two-touchdown period of their own.

DuPec collected 14 points in the final minutes to win by two-touchdowns and secure its place atop the NUIC, along with State-ranked Lena-Winslow.

Both teams have undefeated marks as the second session commences and know that the final stretch of games opens with a showdown at Lena-Winslow in week seven, on Oct. 8.

The reality that both DuPec and Lena-Winslow face, if each remains unblemished on the season, is that the game seven winner could be looking at potentially securing a home game in the soon-to-be returning IHSA State Playoffs.

A win the week before will get each undefeated team an automatic ticket to participate, in their march into November.

Before the schedule turns into the second week of October though, the Rivermen know they have to get ready for the Eastland-Pearl City Wildcatz this week. Kick-off is scheduled for 7pm Friday night.

The schedule smudges a bit heading into Homecoming Week and the week five game, according to information regarding the decision made by Urbana High School to forego its football appearance in Winnebago County.

Week six Dakota visits for its annual NUIC get-together. The Indians ran into trouble this past week in the form of the always-distracting Stockton Blackhawks, but still managed to find a way to work through it on the way to a 14-6 win.

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