June 30, 2017

Flashback Friday: The muddiest football game in our files

This week's Flashback Friday features the muddiest football games PhotoNews Media ever covered that had been hidden in our archives. Back in 2004 St. Joseph-Ogden traveled to Marshall to take on the Lions. That fall, southern Illinois saw a substantial, if not record, amount of rainfall making the high school football a pigpen. There places along the sidelines and on the field that one could stand angle deep in heavy mud.

Here are five photos from our newspaper coverage by Clark Brooks of this epic contest that ended in the Spartans' favor, 7-3. Want to see more photos from the game that were published more than 12 years ago? There are 23 more muddy photo of players slipping and sliding up and down the field. Follow this link to the complete collection here . . .

Spartan running back Mark Gones makes muddy tracks for a first down
With a large hole created by teammates Ben Gorman [51] and Nick Bialeschki [50], Spartan running back Mark Gones makes muddy tracks for a first down.


Kyle Wagehoft washes away mud and dirt from his face
Spartan Kyle Wagehoft takes a mid-game shower to remove mud and grime from his face.


Ben Gorman, now an assistant with the SJO program, makes a solo tackle
Spartans' Ben Gorman makes a solo stop bringing down Lions' running back Levi Gard. The 7-3 victory advanced SJO to a quarterfinal showdown against the Unity Rockets in the 2004 IHSA playoffs. Today, Gorman is one of the assistant coaches for the St. Joseph-Ogden football program.


Andrew Kidd wraps up Lions' Casey Leinberger
Nearly forcing a fumble on the play, senior defensive end Andrew Kidd [95] wraps up Lions' Casey Leinberger. Making play after play, Kidd's defensive effort helped lead St. Joseph-Ogden past Marshall on an otherwise beautiful November day.


Mud covered Ryan Barnes flaps his arms to rally fans
Mud covered and determined to advance to the next round of the IHSA football playoffs, Ryan Barnes flaps his arms in the air to get St. Joseph-Ogden fans and the team's bench players to cheer on his fellow teammates on the field. Barnes made two key fourth-quarter defensive plays to help St. Joseph-Ogden beat Marshall and set up a quarterfinal playoff match-up against the Unity Rockets.



Spewing hateful words solves nothing


by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Hate speech doesn't work for any person or group in America. The result is always hurt. The shooting of Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a baseball practice is further proof.

Here are some of the comments and other rhetoric that Sean Hannity recently remarked about on an evening broadcast and his website:

  • Hollywood Actor Mark Ruffalo calls on NBC News to "cease hiring white conservatives."
  • "Knights for Socialism" group at a Florida University teaches students how to "fight the fascists."
  • Anti-Trump "resistance" leaders say they want to "Make America Ungovernable," call for "direct action" tactics against Republicans.
  • Kathy Griffin's photo shoot depicting President Trump's severed head.
  • Charlie Sheen wishes death on Donald Trump, tweeting, "Dear God; Trump next, please! Trump next, please!" following the death of actress Carrie Fisher.
  • President Trump murdered in musician Marilyn Manson's music video.
  • Katie Tur insinuates Donald Trump will begin killing journalists on MSNBC, saying "Donald Trump has made no secret about going after journalists"
  • Unhinged NYU professor calls on students to attack conservative speaker Gavin McInnes, calls his supporters "Nazis."
  • Rachel Maddow says Donald Trump wants to murder journalists.
  • Comedian Jim Carrey supports Kathy Griffin's photo shoot, says he dreams of killing President Trump.
  • Madonna says she wants to "blow up the White House" during a speech.
  • Black Lives Matter say they want to "fry cops like bacon" during a rally in Minnesota.
  • President Obama urges liberal activists to, "Get in their faces."
  • Actor Mickey Rourke goes on anti-Trump rant, says "F*** him, F*** the horse he rode in on, his wife's one of the biggest gold-diggers I know."
  • Rapper Big Sean raps about murdering Donald Trump with an ice pick.
  • Late-Night host Stephen Colbert goes on anti-Trump tirade, calls him "Vladimir Putin's c***-holster."
  • Comedian Bill Maher jokes about Trump family incest.
  • Rapper Snoop Dogg stages phony execution of 'clown' Donald Trump.
  • NBC and New York Times contributor Malcolm Nance calls on ISIS to suicide-bomb Trump-owned properties.
  • NYC Theater group stages performance of 'Julius Caesar,' showing the savage stabbing-death of 'Donald Trump'.
  • Protesters in Philadelphia chant "Kill Trump - Kill Pence" during May Day demonstrations.

Thanks To Sean Hannity and SeanHannity.com for providing this startling information.

We've heard many times that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Words are painful but often lead to very cruel actions. While some of these American personalities hopefully would never act out their speech, their speech influences America. Millions read social media, watch television and they follow America's celebrities. Speech is influential when it comes from so many people who are in the public eye.

President Donald Trump is not a perfect man. I believe we all should chip in to help him accomplish something.

We should build that wall. We also need our roads, bridges and water systems in America fixed or replaced.

We need to take some of the tax burden off businesses and the average American taxpayer. We need to work together to help our kids receive good educations without costing the price of a new house.

We should stop wasting Americans' money that is paid into Social Security so that seniors will have something to count on in their senior years. We need to fix the high cost of medical care and prescription drugs.

We need to continue to build strong energy sources such as wind, solar, natural gas and clean coal.

Some of America's neighborhoods are out of hand with reported murders every night. We need law and order brought to these communities to protect innocent residents from the senseless mortal danger.

Spewing hate filled venomous words at each other solves nothing. All political sides need to tone it down. Calling for hurt or even death to the President or any law abiding citizen is evil. We need to all become human beings again, stop being stupid, go to work and resolve our problems.

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Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.
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This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers.


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June 29, 2017

#TBT 3 - Unity suffers frosty semi-final loss to Driscoll

Rockets' Chase Nappe stops Highlander receiver John Tranchitella
November 20, 2004 - Addison, IL - Rockets' Chase Nappe [16] stops Highlander receiver John Tranchitella [2] on a reverse play for a loss. Tolono Unity lost to the eventual 2004 Class 3A state football champions, Driscoll Catholic, 28-7. Back online after nearly a year, check out all the photos in our archive here for more Unity football games from the 2004 season.

#TBT 2 - Spartans blank Panthers in 2004 opener

Jake Parke explodes through a weak PBL line on his way to a touchdown.
August 27, 2004 - St. Joseph, IL - Senior Jake Parke punches his way through a weak Paxton-Buckley-Loda defense on en route to a touchdown for the Spartans. Behind Parke's elusive speed, St. Joseph-Ogden declawed Paxton-Buckley-Loda a day later to the tune of a 55-0 victory after a second mandatory weather delay on Friday night forced the game to be played on Saturday. Click here the 16 photos from that game in the PhotoNews online collection here restored earlier today.

#TBT 1 - STM falls in season opener to Wesclin

Senior Wally Oliveira finds running room against the Wesclin.
August 29, 2004 - Champaign, IL - Senior Wally Oliveira finds running room against the Warriors. St. Thomas More fell in the fourth quarter 6-0 to Wesclin after a Friday night rain delay forced the two teams to play the postponed game Sunday afternoon. See 26 more photos from the game uploaded back to our online archive today.

June 27, 2017

Unity 2017 Football Schedule

Coming off a 9-3 finish in its final season as a member of the now defunct Okaw Valley Conference, Unity returns to action August 25 with the dynamic duo senior quarterback Steven Migut and running back Keaton Eckstein to lead Rockets' 2017 offensive campaign.

Keaton Eckstein takes a handoff in warm-ups before the start of Unity's non-conference game against Red Hill. The Rockets picked up their third win of the season after a 49-7 victory over the Salukis on Saturday, September 24, 2016. Eckstein finished the game with 57 yards on 8 carries and a pair of touchdowns. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

With five members of the former Corn Belt Conference now apart of the new Illini Prairie Conference, Unity will have some pretty big fish swimming in their pond to fry. With the first two home games scheduled against the #2 and #3 largest schools in the league, in will be imperative that the Rockets kick off the season firing on all cylinders starting with the opener against Illinois Valley Central and followed by Pontiac the following week.

The three games that you can't miss if you are Unity fan are the week 4 when they host St. Joseph-Ogden for their annual rivalry game along with another home game two weeks later against Monticello. It is fitting that Bloomington Central Catholic, the third game you can't miss, is the regular season finale and an exciting one it could turn out to be with the Saints hoping to reek vengeance on a one point loss to the Rockets 12 months earlier.

Eckstein gobbled up 205 all-purpose yards, 140 rushing at a rate 6.7 yards per carry, at Hicks Field while a tenacious Ethan Miebach, who was the second leading tackler, made 12 defensive stops in that game.

Below is the 2017 schedule. All games are scheduled for a 7pm start.

2017 Unity Football Schedule
Aug 25 - 7:00 -- Home vs Illinois Valley Central
Sep   1 - 7:00 -- Home vs Pontiac
Sep   8 - 7:00 -- Away at Prairie Central
Sep 15 - 7:00 -- Home vs St. Joseph-Ogden
Sep 22 - 7:00 -- Away at Olympia
Sep 29 - 7:00 -- Home vs Monticello
Oct   6 - 7:00 -- Away at St. Thomas More
Oct 13 - 7:00 -- Home vs Rantoul
Oct 20 - 7:00 -- Away at Bloomington Central Catholic


Featured Rocket Football Galleries
09-19-15 Unity vs Monticello
10-05-12 Unity vs Monticello
10-29-11 Unity vs St. Thomas More


Unity Game Coverage
Unity vs SJO football edition Unity vs Stillman Valley championship state football game
Click on either cover to preview or download either issue.

Letters: Supreme Court defends religious liberty

Religious liberty won at the Supreme Court!

The case involved a church-run Missouri preschool that was denied a state grant for rubberized playground surface material.

In a 7-2 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts summed things up by saying: "The exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution… It cannot stand."

The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the First Amendment right to freely exercise religious faith in the public square.

The Court also announced they will take up the Masterpiece Cakes case out of Colorado. This case is about whether the government can punish people of faith for not participating in religious ceremonies with which they disagree.

This is the first time the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a case that will decide the conflict between protected class status for same-sex attraction, sexual behavior and religious freedom. Pray for wisdom for the Justices.

David E. Smith
Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute

June 25, 2017

St. Joseph-Ogden 2017 football schedule

St. Joseph-Ogden, under second year head coach Shawn Skinner, will try for their 27th consecutive playoff appearance this season playing against members of the newly formed Illini Prairie Conference.

St. Joseph-Ogden's Elijah Place blocks IC Catholic Prep's Robert Vitek in their first round playoff game on October 29 last fall. After making their 26th consecutive playoff appearance, the Spartans fell 49-8 to the Knights in Elmhurst. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

The Spartans open the season with a home game against St. Thomas More with a mission to avenge last season's 27-26 nail-biter loss. Then, in week three SJO goes on a brutal 3-game binge facing football powerhouse Bloomington Central Catholic at home, followed by a trip to Tolono for their annual rivalry game against Unity and closing the uphill portion of their schedule hosting Pontiac at home.

The three games St. Joseph-Ogden games you don't want to miss are BCC at home, Unity on the road and the regular season finale against Monticello. Below are the dates and times for the upcoming 2017 season.

2017 St. Joseph-Ogden Football Schedule
Aug 25 - 7:00 -- Home vs St. Thomas More
Sep   1 - 7:00 -- Away at Rantoul
Sep   8 - 7:00 -- Home vs Bloomington Central Catholic
Sep 15 - 7:00 -- Away at Unity
Sep 22 - 7:00 -- Home vs Pontiac
Sep 29 - 7:00 -- Away at Prairie Central
Oct   6 - 7:00 -- Home vs Illinois Valley Central
Oct 13 - 7:00 -- Home vs Stanford Olympia
Oct 20 - 7:00 -- Away vs Monticello

Featured SJO Football Galleries
10-29-16 St. Joseph-Ogden vs IC Catholic
08-29-15 SJO vs Winnebago
11-15-15 SJO vs Central Catholic
11-01-14 St Joseph-Ogden vs Erie-Prophetstown

Monticello Sages 2017 football schedule

The Sages were a steamroller for the first 12 games of the 2016 season including victories over seven programs with 5-5 or better records. The season came to an end after 48-6 semifinal playoff loss to eventual state champion IC Catholic.


Center Alec Gallagher snaps the ball against IC Catholic Prep. It was the Sages last football game as a member of the Okaw Valley Conference. Starting in 2017, Monticello and the five members of the OVC became plank members of the new 10-team Illini Prairie Conference.

Monticello kicks off the 2017 season in the new Illini Prairie Conference on the road at Stanford Olympia. It won't be until Week 3 before the team will play their first game at home when they host St. Thomas More. From that week on the Sages will rotate a home away schedule until the regular season and senior night finale against rival St. Joseph-Ogden.

2017 Monticello Football Schedule
Aug 25 - 7:00 -- At Stanford Olympia
Sep 1   - 7:00 -- At Illinois Valley Central
Sep 8   - 7:00 -- Home vs St. Thomas More
Sep 15 - 7:00 -- At Rantoul
Sep 22 - 7:00 -- Home vs Bloomington Central Catholic
Sep 29 - 7:00 -- At Unity
Oct 6   - 7:00 -- Home vs Pontiac
Oct 13 - 7:00 -- At Prairie Central
Oct 20 - 7:00 -- Home vs St. Joseph-Ogden

Featured Monticello Football Galleries
11-21-16 Monticello vs IC Catholic Prep
09-19-15 Monticello at Unity
10-05-12 Monticello vs Unity

June 12, 2017

Pretty Boy Blue: Coming of age story by Monika Pickett

Last week, Monika Pickett's debut title, PRETTY BOY BLUE, hit the digital bookshelf. Pickett, an Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm and went on to earn both a MBA and a Masters of Human Services degree, penned the book "... to create understanding, communication and compassion between LGBTQ young adults and their families. Although the country is moving towards equality, there are many individuals who suffer in silence," she said in a prepared release.

The story, some of which is based on the author's own life, focuses on the main character Nikki Blue, who intrinsically knows she is different from other girls but dreams of a white picket fence and a wife. While she looks like a debutante, she is as presumptuous and arrogant as any wealthy college boy — a dichotomy that makes her both mystifying and alluring. According to the press release, Pickett's tale doesn’t shy away from describing Nikki Blue’s moments pain and passion. Despite being abandoned by her biological father and her mother’s denial of her life's choices, a stepfather convinces her to join the military to further her journey of self-discovery.

PRETTY BOY BLUE released by Next Level Publishing is available on Amazon.com and on the book's website PrettyBoyBlue.com.

June 10, 2017

Griffins advance to state softball title game

Christine Malito and teammate Alex Storako embrace
June 9, 2017 - Peoria, IL - Lincoln-Way East's Christine Malito and teammate Alex Storako embrace after their semifinal state softball game against Marist. The Griffins defeated the RedHawks 2-0 to advance to Saturday's Class 4A title game. See more photos from both the Class 3A and 4A semifinal games in our photo archives here . . . (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)