More than half a year after the original season was supposed to start, the Illinois High School Association kicked of football games Friday night.
For a season in which many officials were not sure was going to even happen, area athletic directors and coaches miraculously were able to put together schedules, follow COVID-19 protocols, ready athletes and start games Friday.
Three area teams kicked off their seasons, including an inaugural Illinois 8-Man Football Association contest.
The Cerro Gordo-Bement football team kicked off its first game of the season against Villa Grove-Heritage in a Lincoln Prairie Conference matchup at Villa Grove Friday.
The Broncos scored their first touchdown in 16 months in the first quarter to take a 7-6 lead.
Cerro Gordo-Bement added on to that lead when Colin Warren scored on a touchdown run in the second quarter. The extra point conversion was no good, leaving the score at 13-6.
The Broncos scored again for a 19-6 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Cerro Gordo-Bement held the Blue Devils scoreless while tacking on eight more points for a 27-6 lead.
In the fourth quarter, each team scored a touchdown for the final 33-14 score.
The Broncos’ offense rushed for 193 yards, and their defense intercepted the ball three times.
Cerro Gordo-Bement is now 1-0 overall and in the Lincoln Prairie Conference.
Cerro Gordo-Bement’s Friday game against Sangamon Valley has been cancelled, so the Broncos will play next at Villa Grove March 19.
The Knights kicked off their season with a 21-16 loss to a tough Cumberland team at Toledo Friday.
ALAH took a 3-0 lead with a 33-yard field goal by Aaron Likens, but Cumberland scored on the next two possessions for 14-3 lead in the second quarter.
The squad scored again to cut the lead to 14-10, and then both teams traded touchdowns for the final score.
“It was another close game between us and Cumberland,” said coach Ryan Jefferson. “We knew going into this season they were going to be one of our tougher matchups would give us a hard competition right off the bat. We each had a couple of big offensive plays to get scores on the board. We had some mental errors where we lost focus, and they also had some better execution in key moments than we did, and in the end I believe that was the difference.”
Sophomore Kaden Feagin scored two long rushing touchdowns for the Knights. He scored on a 69-yard run and a 47-yard run.
Feagin, who recently accepted a scholarship to play for the University of Illinois, paced the team with 13 carries for 160 yards. He also added two catches for 24 yards and a 15-yard kick-off return for a total of 199 overall combined yards.
Finn Davison carried the ball eight times for 49 yards, and Billy Fifer carried the ball nine times for 6 yards.
Quarterback Brady Borntreger completed four passes out of 13 for 29 yards, including receptions to Jamison Rocke, Austin Abercrombie and Kaden Feagin.
The Knights are now 0-1 avoerall and in the LPC.
Defensively for the Knights, Jack Martin led the team with 19 tackles, and Austin Abercrombie tallied 16.
Feagin and Brayden Fay collected 11 and 10 ten tackles, respectively.
The Knights are set to take on Tri-County Friday night. In two weeks, CBG and ALAH will play each other.
Blue Ridge kicked off its inaugural season into the Illinois 8-Man Football Association.
The Knights travelled to Cuba to take on North Fulton.
North Fulton won the game 41-0.
The Knights are scheduled to travel to Milford High School for a 7 p.m. game Thursday night.
Their last 3-out-of-4 games are at home.