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According to a report from Tri-States Public Radio writer, Jason Parrott, Monmouth-Roseville High School and the school district have adopted a policy of random drug testing for students involved in activities. The issue had come up about five years ago, but the district decided to table the issue for later. The school district also says that their goal with this policy is to keep students safe.

 

The way this will work is each student participating in a school-sponsored activity from grades 7-12 will be assigned a number. The drug-testing company, not the district, will select the numbers at random to determine who gets tested. An added quirk to this rule is that it will also apply to those students who drive to and park at the school. 

 

SuperIntendent Ed Fletcher said he wanted the district out of the selection process because he worried about parents/guardians feeling like their children were being excessively targeted or picked on. He also said that he feels like this could be used as a deterrent from kids being involved negatively in peer pressure situations. 

 

All students in the age range listed must sign a consent form upon registering for that activity, and any who refuse or any whose parents refuse will be disallowed from participating. Positive tests will result in suspension from that activity until a negative result comes back on subsequent follow-up tests. Results of the tests will remain confidential, and a positive test will not result in suspension from school nor will it be shared with law enforcement officials. 

 

Fletcher does not as yet know how the scope of the testing will look, as it is largely determined by an undetermined budget. The school will, however, pay for the initial test and any follow-ups as required. Should a student decide to appeal a positive result, the student and their family would be responsible to the cost of the appeal. Time will tell whether this is effective or not, but Monmouth-Roseville is making a concerted effort to reduce the number of young people taking drugs, drinking or smoking.  

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According to Scott Holland, Jared Elliott has indeed confirmed that 3-year backup and senior Connor Sampson has been named the starting quarterback for week one. The news comes on the back of a summer-long quarterback battle between he, Richmond transfer Kevin Johnson, Junior College transfers Grant Ferraulio and Henry Ogala, and freshman L.T. Beck. 

 

The Leathernecks will be hoping that the fact that Sampson has 3 years of experience in this system will help the offense run smoothly, and we may see a heavier emphasis on the running game than in years’ past. The Leathernecks play North Alabama on the road in week one, a game set for next Thursday, August 29th.

 

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">WIU coach Jared Elliott confirms Connor Sampson is Western&#39;s starter Week 1 at North Alabama</p>&mdash; Scott Holland (@hottscolland81) <a href="https://twitter.com/hottscolland81/status/1164325582924144640?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 21, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

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Cubs:

 

The Cubs won a fascinatingly wild game with the Giants last night, 12-11. Nick Castellanos once again put the Cubs on the board first, with his 8th home run in a minuscule 19 games as a Cub. He would go on to have a four-hit game, and is up to .392 since the trade. His impact has been undeniable this season, as his play has perhaps saved the Cubs’ proverbial ship from sinking. His re-signing could become one of the keys to keeping this window of winning open. Elsewhere though, the Cubs twice blew leads of at least 3 runs, as the Giants never really seem to go away. Despite those struggles, when it came down to the Cubs’ two go-to arms, Brandon Kintzler and Craig Kimbrel, they got the job done. The two combined for 2 perfect innings and 4 strikeouts to back up Kris Bryant’s huge 8th inning 2-run blast. The Cubs and Giants play game 2 today, with former Cub Jeff Samardzija returning to pitch at Wrigley against Kyle Hendricks. First pitch is set for 1:20 PM and you can listen to the game live on 104.7 WLMD.

 

Cardinals:

 

The Cardinals and Brewers played the finale of a three game series from Busch last night, and the Brewers were able to salvage the series with a 5-3 win. Milwaukee came firing out of the gate, as they put up a four-spot in the first and batted one through nine in an inning that saw Adam Wainwright throw 34 pitches. “Waino” calmed down from there, and the Cardinals offense came to life a bit, but Mike Moustakas’ 3-run blast in that prolific first inning proved to be the difference as the Brewers were able to keep it from getting away from them. The Cardinals will now look towards a 4-game weekend series with the Rockies, with Miles Mikolas taking on German Marquez in game one tonight. First pitch is set for 6:45 PM.

 

White Sox:

 

The White Sox suffered one of their uglier losses of the season two nights ago when the Twins mashed their way to a 14-4 win. Last night, however, was all about Sox ace, Lucas Giolito. The talented youngster threw perhaps his best outing as a pro, as he went the distance with a shutout, allowed just 3 hits, walked none and struck out an eye-popping 12. The right-hander continues what has been a resurgent season, as he has gone from a season in which his ERA sat north of 6, to one that sees him currently at 3.20. His transformation into the Sox ace has been incredible to watch, and the trade that brought he and fellow starter Reynaldo Lopez from Washington in exchange for Adam Eaton continues to look like a brilliant piece of business. The Sox take on the Rangers tonight, with Ross Detweiler taking on Texas’ Ariel Jurado at 7:10 PM.

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Redstorm will face off against their rivals Rushville-Industry Rockets Friday August 30, at 8pm for their very first game of the season. Redstorm will aim to have a comeback season because their preivious record was 0-9. Everytime they lost, they were down at least 30 points compared to each team they've face. Their rank last out of verybody in their conference, so they'll be the underdogs in their season opener.

 

Rushville had an overall record of 5-4 last season. The players have been having long practices since August 12th, preparing to make their record twice as better from previous season. Their summer camp consisted of hard practice all day long to get their bodies conditioned the right way. The last time they played against Monmouth, it was a blow out game with the final score being 40-12. Rushville started the game off right in the first half, scoring two touchdowns each quarter. During the second half they managed to get two more touchdowns before the game ended.

 

Now United Red Storm will attempt to make adjustments to the Rockets offensive scheme. It is a new year and everybody wants to start the season off strong. Will see which team wants to prove theirselves more this season.

 

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The Rushville Industry Rockets will face off against their rivals  The United Redstorm Friday August 30, at 8pm for their very first game of the season. Rushville had an overall record of 5-4 last season.

 

The players have been having long practices since August 12th, preparing to make their record twice as better from previous season. Their summer camp consisted of hard practice all day long to get their bodies conditioned the right way.

 

The last time they played against Monmouth, it was a blow out game with the final score being 40-12. Rushville started the game off right in the first half, scoring two touchdowns each quarter. During the second half they managed to get two more touchdowns before the game ended. Now United Red Storm will attempt to make adjustments to the Rockets offensive scheme. 

 

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Macomb, Ill. – Western Illinois University Athletics have just announced the 2019 Hall of Fame class Tuesday, August 20. The Hall of Fame class consist of  Bob Nardelli (Football) and the 1974 baseball team. Ceremonies will begin Friday, October 4, inside the Grand Ballroom of the University Union. In conjunction with 2019 Homecoming festivities, the inductees will also be recognized at halftime of the WIU-Missouri State football game Saturday, October 5. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.


Western Illinois football host 13 championship teams in its 116-year history, and Bob Nardelli suited up for one of them as a member of the 1969 class that won the final IIAC championship. The '69 group had a record of  8-2 and also received a bid to the Mineral Water Bowl. Western's 1974 baseball team will always be associated with the best of the best in Leatherneck history. It was coached by the program's all-time best coach Dick Pawlow, who joined two of his former student-athletes from the '74 squad as previous Hall of Fame inductees. Ed Gvazdinskas was enshrined in 1987, Dick Mantick in 2003 and Pawlow in 2004.

 

The 1974 team went 31-12 in one year, which happens to be the most single-season wins at that time. It is also the second most single-season wins till this day today. That concluded with a trip to the NCAA Division II Mideast Regional. The postseason appearance marked the first-ever for WIU baseball, and several of the team's season statistics still sit Top 10 in school history. All-time season rankings include: wins (31, T-2nd); winning streak (8, T-8th); batting average (.312, T-5th); triples (23, T-1st); walks (219, 5th); stolen bases (136, 1st); lowest ERA (2.90, 6th); lowest opponent batting average (235, 6th); and fielding percentage (.958, T8).

 

Two players from the team went on to Major League Baseball ranks in Mantick and Rick Vogel, who earned spots with the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs, respectively.

 

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The Western Illinois football team announced its captains list for 2019 yesterday, with a mixed group of experienced and inexperienced players making the list.

 

Leading the way are returning studs Clint Ratkovich (pre-season first team All American) and Eric Carrera, who will look to lead the offense and defense respectively to strong seasons.

 

Joining them are: Ohio State transfer running back Jared Drake, who will be looking for more production after a limited 2018, linebacker Tom Rehfeld, who along with Carrera is among the most experienced of the group, and QB Connor Sampson, who will be looking to put his stamp on Leatherneck football in his final season with the program.

 

The Leathernecks look to have everything just about set for their week one tilt with Northern Alabama, a game set to take place on Thursday, August 29. Excitement is building, and we can’t wait for the season to get going.

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Cubs:

 

The Cubs and Giants squared off last night in the first of a 3 game series, and the Cubs came away with a 5-3 win. Nick Castellanos got the scoring going for Chicago with a basket-shot home run in the first, which was followed by an Anthony Rizzo solo homer to put the Cubs up 2-0 after 1. Austin Slater hit a 2-run bomb in the top of the second to tie it, but the Giants never got closer. The Cubs got another homer from Rizzo to break the tie, the big first baseman now has 4 home runs in his last 5 games and 25 on the season as his surge continues. The Cubs then added late runs on an infield single from recent acquisition Jonathan Lucroy and a sac fly from deadline acquisition Tony Kemp to wrap up the scoring for the northsiders. Craig Kimbrel picked up his first save since returning from the IL, in a clean inning that saw him strike out one. The Cubs are now on a 3-game win streak, and sit just one half game back of the Cardinals for the NL Central lead. The Cubs and Giants play game 2 tonight, as Yu Darvish will look to continue his turn into perhaps the Cubs’ best starting pitcher. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM and you can hear the game live on 104.7 WLMD.

 

Cardinals:

 

The Cardinals took on the Brewers in game 2 of the division battle and picked up a win, 9-4. St. Louis followed up its dominant pitching night with a dominant night at the plate as they scored 9 runs on 10 hits and had 5 different players record at least one RBI. One of the major storylines heading into the game was the return of Harrison Bader from the IL, and he came back with a bang. His night began with a spectacular diving grab in the very first inning, and then continued when he hit a leadoff triple in the 3rd inning. Dexter Fowler performed excellently as well as the former Cub racked up 4 RBIs to lead the charge. Michael Wacha turned in a strong pitching performance, as he threw 4 innings of shutout baseball, while he allowed just 3 hits and a walk and struck out 5. This performance has to be encouraging to Cardinals management, as the former top-of-the-rotation man has fallen on hard  times of late. The Cardinals will look for a sweep tonight, when Adam Wainright takes on Adrian Houser at 6:45 PM. 

 

White Sox:

 

The Chicago White Sox looked to continue the momentum of their hard-fought Monday night win when they took on the Twins last night, but they came up a bit short, losing 14-4. The story of the game, as it always seems to be with Minnesota this season, was the long ball and the Twins hit 4 more last night. The Sox were done in by some shoddy defensive play, as an error from Welington Castillo was responsible for 4 unearned runs being charged to Reynaldo  Lopez. The one silver lining from the win was a 2-run home run from All Star first baseman Jose Abreu. Abreu’s case is one of the more interesting on this Sox team, as he is the lone veteran star on a team laden with tantalizing prospects and young talent. Abreu’s oncoming free agency will be interesting to watch, as the Sox have to decide whether or not his production will hold up long enough to still be a significant contributor when the team is ready to contend. For today though, the White Sox will look to win the series with the Twins in what looks to be a great pitching matchup between Lucas Giolito and Jake Odorizzi. First pitch is set for 12:10 PM.

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In light of what has been years now of confusion over what exactly constitutes “Targeting” under the NCAA’s rules, the organization has released a video on to Youtube and most internet platforms regarding their expectations. 

 

You can find the video here

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Details and a schedule have emerged regarding the annual Macomb Volleyball Tournament. The tournament will be held on Saturday, August 31, and the first game will begin at 8 AM. The tournament will be a pool play style, with results from pool play determining a bracket for the championship. In all, 12 teams will be competing for the title, and they are as follows: Bushnell Prairie City, Byron, Almwood/Cambridge, Illini West, Lewistown, Macomb, Metamora, Monmouth-Roseville, Payson-Seymour, Rock Island, Rockridge and Washington.

 

The format of games in the tournament will be pretty standard, with each game being a best-2-out-of-3 style with rally scoring up to 25 points with no cap. Third games will be played rally scoring style to 15 points with the cap at 20 points. Warmups will be standard as well, with the 8 and 9 AM matchups having a 2-6-6 warmup and the later matchups having a 3-3-2 warmup. If things move quickly and the schedule runs ahead they will stay ahead through the morning.

 

The first round of the tournament will be pool play, and the pools are as follows: Orange Pool (Court 1): Byron, Illini West, Macomb, Washington; Black Pool (Court 2): Rockridge, Bushnell Prairie City, Lewistown, Metamora; White Pool (Court 3): Almwood/Cambridge, Monmouth-Roseville, Payson-Seymour, Rock Island.

 

Pool play will begin at 8 AM the day of the tournament, with Macomb facing Illini West, Lewistown taking on Bushnell Prairie City, and Monmouth-Roseville playing Rock Island. The 9 AM slate will feature Washington High School vs. Byron, Metamora vs. Rockridge and Payson-Seymour vs. Almwood/Cambridge. The 10 AM slot sees Byron taking on Macomb, Metamora vs. Lewistown and Monmouth-Roseville vs. Payson-Seymour. At 11 AM, Washington will take on Illini West, Rockridge takes on Bushnell Prairie City and Almwood/Cambridge faces Rock Island. The afternoon begins with a slate of games at 12 PM, with Macomb facing Washington, Lewistown playing Rockridge and Monmouth-Roseville facing off against Almwood/Cambridge. The pool play round wraps up with three final games at 1 PM, with Illini West facing Byron, Bushnell Prairie City taking on Metamora and Rock Island facing Payson-Seymour. Seeding and placement in round 2 will depend on record from round one. Tie-breakers will be decided by head-to-head record and then by fewest points allowed.

 

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The MVFC announced its telecast schedule for the 2019 season. The conference announced it will have 60 events either on ESPN programming or streaming through ESPN+ and the ESPN app. The league also announced that it will produce eight games as part of the “Game of the Week” package. 

 

Youngstown State takes on Samford in the first of the league’s nationally televised games, with the Penguins kicking things off on August 24 at 2 PM on ESPN. The game will be part of the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff. Every game will be a part of the Valley Football on ESPN package. 13 of the games will be streamed through ESPN3, while the remaining 49 will run through ESPN+. 

 

Said Conference Commissioner Patty Viverito on the telecast schedule: “We are proud to partner exclusively with ESPN to distribute our MVFC football games. Our fans can find every game we produce on ESPN+ or ESPN3, with many games also aired on local stations.”

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The Summit League does not appear to be too high on WIU’s upcoming 2019 women’s soccer season, as the Leathernecks were picked 9th heading into the season. This should be all the motivation WIU needs to prove this doubt wrong and surprise the league.

 

Defending champions and perennial powers Denver were picked to win once again, receiving 63 total points in the poll which included 5 first place votes. The Pioneers seem to have their foot firmly on the gas pedal heading into preseason play, as they were picked a full 6 points ahead of second place South Dakota State.

 

The remainder of the preseason rankings followed like this (in order): North Dakota State, Omaha, South Dakota, North Dakota, Oral Roberts, Purdue Fort Wayne with WIU rounding out the list. 

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Illini West’s swim program has announced the schedule for the Lady Suns Classic meet. The event will begin Tuesday, September 3, and run through Friday, September 6. The meet will include Illini West, Central, Rushville-Industry, Unity, Western, Beardstown, Southeastern, South Fulton, Brown County, Liberty, Payson and West Hancock as this group will be divided into 3 pools.

 

The schedule for the event, including the organization of the three groups, is as follows:

 

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One of the most anticipated non-conference series in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) will be approaching soon. The Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley have joined together to announce the 2019 Challenge Series matchups between two of the teams in the FCS conferences.

 

The series is entering its third year of competition. In 2018, the MVFC won the series, 5-3. A total of 12 teams competed in the eight games with eight different winners. The two leagues played each other multiple times during last year’s FCS Playoffs with the MVFC taking the slight edge at 2-1.

 

The MVFC holds the all-time series advantage with a record of 62-41 in games played between their institutions, which includes 34 playoff meetings.  Notably, the Big Sky and the MVFC make up two of only three leagues to have two or more playoff teams every year since 1999. From 2014-17, the MVFC and Big Sky combined to produce eight of the 24 teams in the NCAA Division I Football Championship playoff field.

 

At the conclusion of the 2018 season, it was the Big Sky and MVFC going head-to-head for the NCAA Division I championship title. North Dakota State defeated Eastern Washington, 38-24, in front of 17,802 fans that piled into Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas to watch the two teams play.

 

When the final stats FCS Top 25 poll came out, the MVFC had three teams already ranked - North Dakota State (1), South Dakota State (3), Northern Iowa (23), while the Big Sky had Eastern Washington (2), Weber State (6), UC Davis (7) and Montana State (17) to lead all conferences with four in the final poll. The original story can be found here:https://valley-football.org/news/2019/8/7/football-mvfc-and-big-sky-conference-announce-2019-challenge-series.aspx

 

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MACOMB, Ill. –  The fighting Leathernecks continue to receive more preseason  recognition due to their fullback Clint Ratkovich. Ratkovich recently racked up some Phil Steele accolades along with an All-America and All-Missouri Valley Football Conference list. Ratkovich has earned MVFC first-team recognition a year ago and is now the only WIU first-teamer to return this season. He is a Junior now but he finished second on the 2018 roster with 616 receiving yards and also added three touchdowns as a fullback.

 

Some more buzz about the Leathernecks is their captain being named first-team. Western added additional Valley honors for Lacale London, John Brunner and Zach Glisan. They given Western more recognition as London was voted Second Team All-MVFC, and Brunner and Glisan Third Team All-MVFC.

 

Brunner and London will be coming off of a season where they garnered MVFC All-Newcomer recognition. They guided the Leathernecks with a team-best 625 receiving yards, and the latter contributed 23 tackles including 7.5 for a loss. Glisan was the Leathernecks return their second-leading tackler from a season ago. The senior linebacker recorded 83 stops, which ranked 10th in the conference, and 45 were solo. Them plus many more will give the Leathernecks the push that they need to succeed. 

 

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Macomb, Ill. – During his second year at the peak of the program, Western Illinois head football coach Jared Elliot has welcomed 99 student-athletes to Macomb Wednesday, July 31, for the first official day of fall camp.  This mid-morning practice marked the first of a four-week schedule leading up to their August 29 season-opener at North Alabama. 

 

Coach Elliott discussed his thoughts on  the first day of practice. "It's so exciting to be back out here with the guys. The first day you want to see detailed things, great effort, energy, and urgency moving around from drill to drill. Obviously, on the first day, we need to clean up execution and have a long way to go to build there. The good thing is we have a lot of time before week one. I was really happy today with new guys in new roles. It's fun to see this 2019 team out here as a whole for the first time."

 

There will be a total of twenty-four practices that separate the Leathernecks from their first game of the 2019 season. The team lost a lot of veteran leadership but isn't worried because they still have a strong core of student athletes. Altogether, 63 student-athletes returned from a season ago. 

 

Coach Elliott mentioned his thoughts on the  senior leadership. "We have great senior leadership. They are guys who have been in our program, and it's fun to see that the torch has been passed to them. The seniors are seeing that they have younger guys looking up to them and that motivates them to take on a leadership role."

 

The Leathernecks are hoping to push past limits and make it even farther than usual. During these practice days before the season opener, they'll be putting in a lot of hard work. They will push each other to get better and show Macomb why their the Fighting Leathernecks. For more information you can find the original story here https://goleathernecks.com/news/2019/7/31/football-leathernecks-kick-off-fall-camp.aspx?path=football

 

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Macomb, IL- With football season quickly approaching, The Macomb Bombers are looking to brign a new fire to their team. Regional Media's Paul Mellema had a chance to check out the Bombers this summer and give a preview of the newly fired up Macomb Bombers, Listen Here:

 

 

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Deadline Comes and Goes Without Much of a Bang

With the 3 PM Central Time MLB trading deadline having come and passed, it’s time for assessment. The Cubs actually wound up being among the most active teams, making 3 minor moves heading into the deadline. The team added Derek Holland, a lefty specialist reliever, from the Giants, David Phelps, a reliever from the Blue Jays and Tony Kemp, a utility player from the Astros in a move that saw the previously added Martin Maldonado go back to Houston.

 

The Cubs’ biggest work was left right up to the deadline, as the news came through at around 3 PM that the team had acquired Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos in exchange for a pair of lower level prospects. Castellanos adds a quality bat who can slot in regularly near the top of the lineup, while also being able to spell Jason Heyward in right and play some left field. His defensive concerns will be mitigated by a reduced role in Chicago. He comes in hitting .273 with a .790 OPS and 11 homers and is one year removed from a season that saw him hit .298 with 26 home runs, 101 RBIs and an .854 OPS. The man can hit, and he will be a welcome addition down the stretch run.

 

Overall, the moves made improve the Cubs in depth and quality, and the team looks prepared to take a step forward as the season progresses. They now look like the prohibitive favorites in the NL Central.

 

The Cardinals (and for that matter the Brewers) opted to largely stand pat, despite the clamoring of plenty of fans for a big move. Both teams had a need at starting pitcher, and for what is now the third year in a row, neither team added it. The Brewers did move to add Jacob Faria (Rays) and Drew Pomeranz (Giants), but were unable to land the frontline starter they desperately need. The Cardinals, curiously, made a small “sell” move, trading away talented yet oft-injured infielder Jedd Gyorko to the Dodgers. The move brought them back a little salary relief and a minor prospect, but does not appear to improve their prospects of making the playoffs.

 

The Astros swung in last minute and made the biggest move of the deadline, as they added to their already scary pitching staff with the acquisition of Zack Greinke. Greinke has proven time and time again he has the stuff to be the leader of a staff, and he goes to a Houston who already has two such players in Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. The Braves added Shane Greene, the former Tigers’ closer, in the biggest bullpen move of the day. Overall, Joel Sherman had perhaps the best summary of the deadline, “risk aversion”. It seemed this year that GMs across the league were especially careful to not risk prospects or money for a small hope of winning a championship. It was a careful and quiet deadline, one that saw, in my opinion, far too many missed opportunities.

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Growth the Key for the Chargers

Coming off a season where Illini West made the second round of the IHSA playoffs on the back of a senior-laden team, a lot of change will be occurring for the Chargers in 2019. Gone is the dynamic backfield of Nick Vorhies and Colton Sargent, gone is dual-threat QB Carter Boyer, to name a few of one of the largest senior classes in recent program history. With those changes, will come a large learning curve. 

 

Running the wing-t as the Chargers do, replacing a quarterback may not be as big of an issue as it might be for a team that runs a more traditional offense, however the issue may come at the running back position. Since Sargent and Vorhies, alongside Michael Lord, commanded such a high volume of carries, it is likely the backfield will be occupied by a completely new, fresh group. It will be an interesting offense to watch to be sure.

 

Defensively, the graduation issue, which is an issue year in and year out unfortunately in high school athletics, has hit hard as well. The team returns just three starters from the prior year, so there will be a bit of an increased learning curve here as well. The aggressiveness and tenaciousness that the Chargers play with should help offset the curve, being able to let the kids go out there and simply attack, but discipline may be an issue on defense.

 

Overall, this is a young team without a ton of playing experience, though they do return several players who were at least rostered for the playoff run. These players were able to get those extra few weeks of practice, a routine which tends to create great players year in and year out. It will be a season of growth for the Chargers, with the expectation that any issues early on are ironed out and fine-tuned by the end of the season. 

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The Missouri Valley Football Conference today released its annual preseason all conference list, and a year removed from Western Illinois being a staple on the list, they have landed just two. Clint Ratkovich was selected to the first team at fullback, while John Brunner was named an honorable mention at wide receiver. 

 

The full list can be found here

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