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Local Sports Archives for 2016-09

Morning Sports Update (9/30/16)

Listen to your Morning Sports Update for (9/30/16)



Afternoon Sports Update (9/29/16)

Listen to your local sports update for the afternoon of 9/29/16.



Morning Sports Update (9/29/16)

Here is your Macomb News Now Sports Update for the morning of 9/29/16.



Leatherneck Lounge (9/28/16): Brett Taylor

This is the first episode of my new WIU sports podcast: Leatherneck Lounge. This will be a weekly podcast about all of the happenings in Leathernecks athletics with a combination of news and insight. I will have a guest from a different sports team every week, as we discuss a wide variety of topics both on and off the field.


In this episode, I broke down WIU Football's early season success under 1st year coach Charlie Fisher and spoke with Leatherneck's middle linebacker and Macomb native Brett Taylor.


To listen to the podcast click here

(A breakdown of the starting and ending time of each segment can be found in the description area on the soundcloud page)


The plan is to get this on ITunes shortly and format it in a way that you do not have to click on the soundcloud link to listen. If you like what you hear, and or have some suggestions for ways to improve the podcast, please reach out to me on twitter @samkoop. Enjoy!







Morning Sports Update (9/28/16)

Hear your Macomb News Now sports update for the morning of 9/28/16. 



Macomb Bombers Football Team Is Hitting Its Stride

It was an ugly first three weeks for the Macomb Bombers football team. An 0-3 record characterized by an out of synch offense and an inability to play a complete game led to a banged up team with limited roster depth owning a point differential of -122. Macomb had been held scoreless for eleven consecutive quarters. The prospect of that same team defeating Olympia 46-24 just two weeks after the 55-0 loss to Tolono Unity simply didn’t seem like a reality. Sure enough here we are, with the Bombers sitting at 2-3 and in prime position to snag a big win against Hamilton (West Hancock) on Homecoming.


This is especially impressive given how one of the team’s top players, Korby Foxall, has been injured for practically all of the past three weeks. With that Foxall injury, Head Coach Kelly Sears had to get creative with how to restructure his game plan. The combination of a new defensive strategy, a reconfigured offensive line, and an unexpected hero at fullback has helped advance the team to its current position.


Listen: Macomb Football Highlights vs. Olympia


With the injuries to both Foxall and Mason Westen (who also missed the week for contest versus Monmouth-Roseville), the Bombers were down two starting linebackers. The team simply didn’t have the depth to plug guys into a defensive system that featured that many linebackers. To make up for that Kelly Sears had to switch to a five-man front, something that the team has completely bought into. Sears said to me after the team’s Week 4 win over Monmouth-Roseville that “anyone that’s ever watched Macomb High Football has never seen me run a five.” Considering that this is Sears’ 21st year at the helm of the Bombers football program, that’s saying something.


It’s clearly worked, as the team forced four turnovers against Monmouth and two against Olympia. Macomb has been able to utilize its size with five men on the line, as even against teams with more depth the Bombers end up putting out a larger team size-wise. It will be curious to see if the team will continue to move forward with the five-man front once they’re fully healthy, but I imagine it’ll continue to get used at least a decent amount given the success the team has had with it.


Offensively the team has exploded with 66 points over its last two games. Kavon Johnson’s  five touchdowns and over 360 yards of rushing in that timeframe are certainly a huge reason as to why that took place, but in that time there has been a major improvement in the play of the Bombers offensive line. Sears shifted almost every player on that line around, and it has worked.


Early in the season the offense was turning the ball over way too much, and plays were constantly getting bottled up in the backfield. It was surprising to see this given the immense size that Macomb brings to the table. Granted, this is still a young team, sporting only 6 seniors on an opening day roster of 48 players. Even so, the offense was painfully ineffective through three games, and it has really started to hum since it has been realigned.


Part of that offensive line shuffle was moving Ben Gentry from the line to fullback, simply out of necessity. With Foxall and Westen out versus Monmouth-Roseville, Gentry was slotted in at fullback. Since then all he’s done is rush for 190 yards and 2 TD’s in the two Bomber wins.


There’s nothing flashy about his running style, he's just the old “three yards and a cloud of dust,” type of player (although he did break a 47 yard touchdown run against Olympia). It works though, simply because no one can bring Gentry down on their own. He’s utilized his size well out of the backfield on fullback dives, which creates a nice change of pace from the burst that Johnson brings from the tailback position. The importance of Gentry’s success at the fullback position cannot be stated enough. Just give Kelly Sears’ postgame interview from the Olympia a quick listen.



The unofficial number of wins you need to get an at large bid into the IHSA playoffs is five. Since the West Central Conference only has four teams (including the Bombers), there is no automatic playoff bid for winning the conference. Macomb, Monmouth Roseville, Quincy Notre Dame, and West Hancock all need at least five wins to advance to the playoffs.


A loss this weekend would put Macomb in a situation where it absolutely must win out in order to make the playoffs. A win would be very telling as to the improvement and the general talent level of this team. Additionally it would provide significant breathing room for the final three games of the regular season slate. The Bombers will have their hands full with a very good West Hancock team on Friday. That being said, Macomb is playing good football at the moment, and will have a chance to secure an extremely important win this weekend. 


Charlie Fisher K100 Interview (9/26/16)

This morning Charlie Fisher called into the K100 Morning Show to discuss the Leathernecks 28-23 win over Northern Illinois. You can listen to the full interview here.


Fisher will host his weekly radio show tonight at 6 at Buffalo Wild Wings. There will be free food and a ton of giveaways at the event. You can also tune in on 102.7 FM.


WIU Football Win Over NIU Video Recap

Check out the Sights and Sounds Recap the folks with Western Illinois Athletic Communications put out about the team's 28-23 win over Northern Illinois Saturday.


(You can view the video here)


The 'necks compiled their first win over an FBS opponent since 2003. WIU has risen to the 13 slot in both the FCS Coaches Poll and STATS Top 25 poll. They head up to Brookings, South Dakota ths weekend for a matchup with the 15th ranked Jackrabbits of South Dakota State. 




IHSA Football Scores (9/23/16)

Here are the local IHSA scores from the weekend:
Macomb 46 Olympia 24
Elmwood Brimfield 35 Bushnell West Prairie 6
Peoria Heights 29 Illini West 56
Abingdon 6 South Fulton 18
Rushville Industry 55 North Fulton 8 
Quincy Notre Dame 42 West Hancock 56


Charlie Fisher K100 Interview (9/19)

WIU Leathernecks Football Coach Charlie Fisher called into the K100 Morning Show to look ahead to the NIU game on Saturday. Fisher discussed what his team did during the bye week, what he expects to see from the opposition Saturday, and the itinerary his squad will have when traveling up to DeKalb.


You can listen to the interview here.


Charlie Fisher calls into the K100 Morning Show Monday's at 7:30. Remember to tune in on 100.1FM


Kelly Sears Monmouth-Roseville Postgame Interview

Macomb Bombers Head Football Coach Kelly Sears joined me on the K100 Postgame Show after his team defeated Monmouth-Roseville 20-8 Friday night. Sears' squad notched its first win of the season in that game, improving to 1-3 on the year.


Sears discussed the types of adjustments he had to make with a banged up lineup, key points in the game, and where the team goes from here.


The full interview can be found here.


Charlie Fisher K100 Interview (9/12/16)

Here is my interview with WIU Head Football Coach Charlie Fisher following the team's 34-20 week 2 victory over Northern Arizona. We discuss how his team rose to the challenge against an elite NAU offense, look ahead to the bye week, and Fisher gives his take on the differences between FCS and FBS competition. 


Click here to hear the interview on our Soundcloud page. 




Leathernecks Weekend Wrap

Football (2-0):
Northern Arizona: 34
Western Illinois: 20
Charlie Fisher's squad notched a victory in the home opener over a ranked opponent in that of Northern Arizona. The Leathernecks gave up a touchdown on the Lumberjack's initial drive, and did not lead during the first half. 
The second half of course was a different story, as the switch seemed to completely flip. The NAU offense that  was so electric early on became relatively staggnant. I say relatively of course because the two squads combined for 964 yards of total offense! That being said, Lumberjack's quarterback Case Cookus looked significantly more uncomfortable as the game progressed.
Offensively WIU put on a show, with Sean McGuire more than tripling his passing yardage from week 1. He racked up 336 yards with 2 touchdowns in this game. Half of his completions went to the man you'd expect to get them. 
I'm reffering to Lance Lenoir of course. The senior put up a casual statline of 11 receptions with 231 yards and a score. Lenoir consistantly got behind the Lumberjacks secondary and made countless impressive catches as the Leathernecks offense hummed in the second half. 
Sophomore tailback Steve McShane showed that his monster week 1 game that earned him Co-Missouri Valley Football Conference Player of the Week honors was no fluke. He tallied 155 yards on the ground and found paydirt twice. He also broke out a 62 yard touchdown run, just one week after running one in from 70 yards out. 
This was a clear statement win for the Leathernecks, and they should move up in all of the FCS polls. The squad gets a bye week this week, which gives them a little extra time to prepare to face Northern Illinois on the road the following week. 
Men's Soccer (1-3-1):
Bowling Green: 1
Western Illinois: 2
Leathernecks Men's Soccer found the win column for the first time all season after handling Bowling Green in the home opener. WIU surrendered the first goal of the game a mere 15 minutes into play. The team responded with a Daniel Collins strike from 25 yards out in the 38th minute, and followed it up early in the 2nd half with a Jacob Bevan header.
Leathernecks get two more games in Macomb this week. Mount Mercy comes to town Tuesday and Kansas City will do the same Saturday.  
Women's Soccer (1-4-1): 
North Dakota: 0
Western Illinois: 0
Leatherneck's Women's Soccer notched a nil-nil tie Friday night against North Dakota at home. WIU outshot the opposition 18-12, had 8 corner kicks to UND's 5, but ultimately neither team found the back of the net.
The team will be in Iowa this week, with Drake on the dockett Wednesday and a matchup with Northern Iowa set for Sunday.
Volleyball (0-10):
Western Illinois: 0
Green Bay: 3
Western Illinois: 2
McNeese State: 3
Western Illinois: 0
Missouri State: 3
Leatherneck's volleyball went 0-3 at the Missouri State Mary Jo Wynn Invitational in Springfield, MO. The team lost in straight sets to Green Bay, battled a full five sets against McNeese State, and lost 3-0 to the home Missouri State team.
The team gets 7 straight games in Macomb, starting with Wednesday's tilt versus Chicago State. 


2016-17 WIU Men's Basketball Schedule Released

The Western Illinois University Men’s Basketball team has released its schedule for the 2016-17 regular season. Here are some of the highlights.
The team has one exhibition game set for November 3rd vs. Lincoln Christian. That is followed by the regular season opener November 11th at Kansas State. 
The first home game for WIU is November 13th versus Oak Hill Christian College at the newly renovated Western Hall. The 26 game slate is split even with home and road games at 13 apiece. Non-conference play extends through December 19th, when the Leathernecks head to West Lafayette to take on Purdue out of the Big Ten. 
Summit League games start up on December 29th, with a road contest at IPFW in Fort Wayne. The end of the nonconference schedule and the start of Summit League play bridge together to make up a four game road trip from the 17th to the 31st of December. 
The regular season ends with a home game on February 25th, against IPFW. The 2017 Summit League Men's Basketball Championship is set for March 4-7 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. The top eight Summit League teams will qualify for the tournament. 
The full schedule can be found at the Western Illinois University Athletics Website.


Labor Day Weekend Local Sports Recap

Here is a recap of all of the major moments in local sports over Labor Day Weekend. Going forward I’ll be posting weekly sports recaps on Tuesdays.
So let’s begin now….
IHSA Football:
Canton 35 (2-0) Macomb (0-2) 0
The Skinny: 
Macomb hosted the Little Giants of Canton in their home opener. The Bombers played well defensively for the first 22 minutes of the game, as both teams were scoreless until the end of the first half. Canton running back Jace Chamberlain broke free with a 43 yard run that set up the Little Giants first score of the day. Canton punched in another touchdown before the half ended, and picked up where they left off in the second half. The Bombers have been outscored 73-6 in their first two games of the 2016 campaign. 
Next Up:
The Bombers play their second of three straight home games Friday when they host Tolono Unity. Pre Game coverage for this one starts up at 6:30 on 100.1 FM, with kickoff set for 7.
Monmouth United (0-2) 22 Bushnell West Prairie (1-1) 29
The Skinny:
The Sparclones bounced back from an opening weekend loss to Rushville Industry by taking care of business in the home opener. Tailback Trey Augusta carried BWP with 3 rushing touchdowns and 188 yards on the ground. Both teams scored 16 points each in the final quarter of play, which made for an exciting game all around.
Next Up:
The Sparclones travel to Havana this week. Pre Game coverage starts at 6:30 with kickoff at 7. That can be heard on 104.7 FM.
Rushville-Industry (1-1) 6 Farmington (2-0) 52
The Skinny:
The Rockets hit the road and fell hard against the Farmers. After an impressive opening weekend victory over BWP, Rushville-Industry struggled mightily in this non conference matchup. Senior running back Isaac Goodrich pulled off a 65 yard touchdown run in the first quarter to provide the Rockets lone score of the day.
Next Up:
Rockets are back at home to host Knoxville on Friday.
Mercer County (1-1) 48 Illini West (1-1) 6
The Skinny:
The Chargers fell in Carthage after a strong showing on the road at Monmouth-United the previous weekend. QB Jackson Porter scored his team’s only touchdown of the day, tossing a pass to Joe Adkisson. 
Next Up:
Illini West heads to Farmington to take on that Farmers team that just smoked Rushville-Industry.
Quincy Notre Dame (1-1)  21   St. Joseph Odgen (1-1)  41
The Skinny:
The Raiders took a step back in the West Central standings after an opening week win against Hannibal, a team out of Missouri. 
Next Up:
QND heads to Morris on Friday for a game against the Redskins.
Monmouth-Roseville (0-2) 12 Tolono Unity  (2-1) 48
The Skinny:
The Titans lose again, getting routed by the same Tolono team that will travel to Macomb this week to face the Bombers. Monmouth-Roseville sits at the bottom of the West Central standings with Macomb. 
Next Up:
Monmouth-Roseville will attempt to bounce back when it hosts St. Joseph Odgen in a Saturday afternoon contest.
Hamilton (2-0) 56 Martinsville (1-1) 0
The Skinny:
Hamilton demolished Martinsville in a neutral site Saturday afternoon game held at Springfield Sacred-Heart. Hamilton sits alone atop the West Central standings with a casual 100 points for and 6 against through two games. 
Next Up:
Hamilton will host Kahoka, Clark County from Missouri on Friday.
WIU Scores:
9/1 Western Illinois (1-0) 38 Eastern Illinois (0-1) 21
My game recap can be found here
Next Up: 18th ranked WIU hosts 17th ranked NAU Saturday at 3PM in the home opener. Complete coverage can be heard on 102.7 FM
Men’s Soccer:
9/2 Western Illinois (0-2-1) 1 Southern Methodist (2-1) 2
9/4 Western Illinois (0-3-1) 1 Valparaiso (1-1-1) 3
The Skinny:
Leathernecks men’s soccer remains winless, having only played on the road. WIU has been outscored 4 goals to 10 thus far. It’s lone tie came against Belmont in the season opener, with a 2-2 draw.
Next Up: 
The home opener is Saturday at 1 PM vs. Bowling Green.
Women’s Soccer:
9/2 Milwaukee (3-1-1) 4 Western Illinois (1-3-1) 0
9/4 Western Illinos (1-4-0) 0 Western Michigan (4-1) 2
The Skinny:
Leathernecks go scoreless and winless over the weekend. The Milwaukee loss marked the home opener for WIU. 
Next Up:
Western Illinois takes the field in Macomb Friday with a meeting against North Dakota on tap.
*Hawkeye Classic
9/2 Western Illinois (0-4) 1 Iowa (4-0) 3
9/2 Western Illinois (0-5) 2 Oakland (4-1) 3
9/2 Western Illinois (0-6) 0 Butler (4-4) 3
The Skinny:
Western went 0-3 at its second consecutive weekend tournament. The Leathernecks held a 2-1 lead going into the 4th set of the Oakland match, but could not close it out.
Next Up:
Western Illinois hosts Eastern Illinois tonight (9/6), before hitting the road again for a weekend tournament in Springfield, MO.
FBS College Football Regional Scores:
9/3 Miami OH (0-1) 21 No. 17 Iowa (1-0) 45
The Skinny:
The Hawkeyes took care of business at home against a MAC opponent. Iowa scored 21 in the first quarter and simply didn’t look back.  The win bumped the team up to 16th in the AP Top 25, while sitting at 10th in the Coaches Poll.
Next Up:
A home tilt with Iowa State is slated for Saturday. The Cyclones come into this one after a 25-20 loss to Northern Iowa of the FCS. 
9/3 Murray State (0-1) 3 Illinois (1-0) 52
The Skinny:
The Lovie Smith Era began on a very positive note as the Illini crushed the Racers of Murray State. Illinois put up over 500 yards of offense and forced 3 turnovers in a win over a very inferior opponent.
Next Up:
The competition level picks up significantly Saturday when a UNC team coming off an ACC Title Game appearance comes to Champaign Saturday.


Charlie Fisher K100 Interview (9/6/16)

Here is my weekly conversation with WIU Football Head Coach Charlie Fisher. We break down the team's 38-21 opening week win vs. Eastern Illinois, and preview Saturday's home opener vs. 17th ranked Northern Arizona. 




WIU Football Defeats Eastern Illinois 38-21 in Season Opener

The WIU football team seems to have picked up on Charlie Fisher's system just fine. The Leathernecks lead Eastern Illinois for the final 46:29 of the game, en route to a 38-21 opening night victory.
EIU quarterback Mitch Kimble ran in a 19 yard TD on the Panther's first drive, but the Leathernecks would respond with two rushing TD's of their own in that first quarter. Western Illinois took a liking to the run in this game, carrying the ball for 238 yards as a team. Sophmore running back Steve McShane accounted for 207 of those yards, along with two touchdowns. 
The Leathernecks lead got trimmed to three late in the third quarter after Kimble hit Korliss Marshall for a 79 yard touchdown pass, making the score 24-21. WIU responded with a Devon Marble 6 yard plunge into the endzone, and pulled away halfway through the fourth when McShane took a handoff 70 yards to the house.
WIU hosts Northern Arizona next Saturday at 3PM for the team's home opener. Coverage of that and every Leathernecks game can be heard on 102.7 FM.
Quick Hits:
- After beating out Trenton Norvell for the starting job this offseason, Redshirt Sophomore Quarterback Sean McGuire finished the game 13-28 passing with 109 and a TD. He also ran one in late in the first quarter.
- Junior linebacker and Macomb native Brett Taylor picked off a pass on third down and returned it 12 yards into the redzone. That lead to McGuire's two yard pass to Tony Harper that made the score 21-7 Leathernecks with 14 seconds left in the first half.
- If you want to go with the old sports addege that a particular play changed the "momentum of the game," look no further than the kickoff that followed McGuire's TD pass.  Luke Otto launched a high kick on the ensuing kickoff and it went untouched and fell into the arms of WIU's Timothy Smith. Western Illinois capitalized off a Nathan Knuffman 43 yard field goal on the last play of the half, taking a 24-7 lead into the locker room.
- The last time a Leatherneck rattled off a 70 yard run was when Frisman Jackson pulled off a 77 yarder against Southern Illinois in 2000
- This marks the 5th straight season opening win for WIU. 


High School Sports Roundup (Games from 8/31/16)



Suns Classic (Augusta)

Illini West              25 21 15
Rushville Industry 15 25 13
Suns Classic (Augusta)
West Hancock     25 25
South Fulton        15 21

Boys Golf

Macomb Triangular
1. Quincy HS, 158
2. Macomb,     174
3. Monmouth, 176
Quad at Rushville
1. Rushville Industry, 170
2. Pittsfield,                190
3. Unity,                      193

Girls Golf


Triangular at Rushville
1. Pittsfield                   194
2. Quincy Notre Dame 200
Triangular at Westview
1. Quincy HS 200
2. Macomb    217
3. Palmyra     245


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