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High School Highlights
After 34 seasons, Rigo Schmelzer is going to finish out his career as head football coach at Bloomington High School when this current season ends. The sad thing is, that ending will, due to BHS’ 0-5 record as of last Friday, not be indicative of all the good Schmelzer has done while at BHS.
Prior to the Raiders’ game at Normal Community High School on Sept. 25, Schmelzer was greeted at mid-field of Ironmen Field by NCHS head coach Wes Temples, NCHS Athletic Director Andy Turner, and NCHS Principal David Bollman. They each shook Schmelzer’s hand and then presented him with a gift certificate to a local steakhouse. The crowd of between 1,500-1,600 spectators applauded in appreciation, one can assume, for Schmelzer, to wish him a happy retirement.
Besides asking him the usual postgame questions, I checked with Schmelzer to see what he was thinking as he made his last trips around the Big 12 Conference. “Football’s a great game and it’s a way for communities to come together and to form good sportsmanship habits and rivalries while making good memories,” Schmelzer began. “In 34 years, there are some games and players that stand out in my mind.”
Addressing BHS’ gridiron situation this season, Schmelzer said, “I’m disappointed, obviously, for our current seniors and for how things have played out in the last couple years.” Schmelzer’s disappointment concerning those last couple years was not something he felt alone in, I’m sure, as every player, parent, and fan of the Raiders felt it, too. But those same folks should also feel a sense of pride in having had someone of Schmelzer’s caliber to lead the team.
On another subject, it didn’t rain last Friday when NCHS hosted BHS. While that’s not exactly bulletin material, it was a relief to members of NCHS’ Marching Band, who got to play at halftime of a game for the first time this season.
With just five home games on the Ironmen’s schedule, two of which were postponed by lightning and heavy rain, I’m sure the kids were happy to finally be able to strut their stuff in front of the home crowd this season.
The Ironmen’s next game is Oct. 9 against Peoria Richwoods, while no newcomer to the Big 12 in other sports, is getting acquainted with how the league’s teams play football. Peoria Richwoods, along with the River City’s schools, belonged to another smaller conference last season.
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NCHS Hands Bloomington High 5th Straight Loss, Dropping Raiders, 49-14
by Steve Robinson
Junior wide receiver Steven Towns scored two touchdowns for Normal Community High School en route to the Ironmen’s 49-14 romp over Bloomington High School in a Big 12 Conference showdown at Ironmen Field on Sept. 25.
Bloomington (0-5, 0-1 Big 12 Conference) punted the ball away turning it over on downs to NCHS who took advantage of the situation quickly, marching 70 yards on 11 plays, concluding with senior running back Alec Bozarth’s 2 yard run into the end zone, followed by the extra point by senior kicker Dalton Bruso, giving the Ironmen a quick 7-0 lead at 6:22 in the first quarter.
A crowd of about 1,000 fans were present for the contest which had NCHS getting the ball back after BHS’ ensuing drive ended in a punt, and increasing the Ironmen’s lead, 14-0 at 4:21 in the quarter, thanks to junior running back Dakota Cremeens dashing 60 yards for a touchdown, followed by Bruso’s extra point.
An interception of a BHS pass by NCHS senior defensive back Jared Pratt helped the Ironmen toward their next score – an 18 yard pass from junior quarterback Grant Price to junior wide receiver Steven Towns, putting NCHS up, 21-0, followed by Bruso’s extra point, to go into the second quarter.
NCHS, Ranked No. 5 in Illinois High School Association Class 7A (5-0, 3-0 Big 12) increased their lead, 28-0, to open the second quarter on a 7 yard rushing score by Towns which capped an 8 play 84 yard march, followed by Bruso’s next extra point. NCHS would get the ball back when BHS’ next series ended in a punt,, and Price would use the keeper play to score from 7 yards out to increase that lead to 35-0, after another Bruso extra point.
BHS would get on the scoreboard with 1:08 until halftime when Raiders senior quarterback Tyler Stewart would connect with junior running back Cary Stewart from 30 yards out to cut the Ironmen’s lead, 35-7 following senior kicker Drew Humprey’s extra point.
NCHS would get one more score as Price would connect with Rahuba from 25 yards out as time expired on the clock for the half to increase the Ironmen’s lead, 42-7 after Bruso’s extra point.
Sophomore running back Varshaun Dixon scored from 20 yards out at 7:32 in the third quarter, and Bruso’s extra point gave NCHS a 49-7 lead. As a result, game officials at that point, employed the use of the Illinois High School Association Mercy Rule, using a continuously running clock, stopping it only for team timeouts or injury timeouts.
The final score was reached when BHS junior quarterback Ben Nibur dashed into the end zone for the Raiders’ last score of the night from five yards out, followed by Humprey’s extra point.
“Our kids played well,” NCHS head coach Wes Temples said after the contest. But he admitted errors on the field need to be cleaned up, such as late hits leading to penalties.
“We honestly felt we had an opportunity to find some schemes within their defense,”,Schmelzer said of his team’s offensive plan of attack. It was a strategy that failed to pay off. “I’m disappointed from the offensive side of the ball because that’s what I’m supposed to be responsible for.”
Beating BHS gave NCHS its 20th consecutive Big 12 victory win, NCHS visits second ranked Peoria on Oct. 2
Men’s Hoops Home Times Finalized, On-Sale Date Set
All home tipoff times for the Illinois State men’s basketball team’s upcoming 2015-16 season have been finalized and posted to GoRedbirds.com. While season tickets and mini plan tickets are available now, single-game tickets to all 17 of ISU’s home contests will go on sale Oct. 14 at 9 a.m. CT.
The Redbirds are slated to host 16 regular-season games on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena, plus one exhibition contest against Southern Indiana to begin the year Sunday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. CT. The Redbirds will be at Redbird Arena for their home opener against Morehead State, Monday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. CT. ISU will later host 2015 NCAA qualifier UAB Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. CT.
Illinois State is scheduled to open the Missouri Valley Conference season at Redbird Arena versus Missouri State Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. CT. Included among ISU’s nine home conference games are matchups with NCAA qualifiers Northern Iowa (Saturday, Jan. 23 at 3 p.m. CT) and Wichita State (Saturday, Feb. 6 at 9 p.m. CT). The Redbirds will host their home finale Wednesday, Feb. 24 against Southern Illinois at 7 p.m. CT, and ISU’s MVC season will culminate with the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, March 3-6.
Season tickets, starting at $160, and mini plan tickets, starting at $33, are on sale now by visiting GoRedbirds.com/Tickets, or by calling (309) 438-8000. Single-game tickets, starting at $12 for adults and $7 for youth, will be available Oct. 14 beginning at 9 a.m. CT.
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