2023 Week 4 (Ohio & Illinois)
Week 4 was a hectic week. I was supposed to be in Wyoming. But, kept getting delayed leaving. So, I looked about my original schedule, and figured I’d see a game in Ohio. And one on the way. Saturday, too, if possible. Figuring maybe Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. As Saturday options in Iowa or Missouri weren’t exactly plentiful.
The only problem was, I still wasn’t sure when I’d leave. So, didn’t want to jinx it. And then, Thursday came and I still was in Ohio. So, I went to my originally planned game. At Aurora.
I had this game circled for a long time as my Thursday option. As I had been planning to take my daughter with me. Had I known I was going to be home. But then I wasn’t going to be home. So, she wasn’t with me tonight. But I didn’t want to venture out and look for another game. Though, I could have. And should have. As there was one much closer to home.
#31 – Aurora v. Copley
I left Boardman a little later than I had planned, and arrived at Aurora High School a lot closer to kickoff than I had planned. I entered from the south entrance. Which gave me a pretty quick entrance to the stadium
I got situated, and stopped at the concession stand. Interesting that they sell double cheeseburgers. They weren’t great, but they were good. $6 for the burger and $3 for a gatorade. I ate the burger by the fence. And then went looking at the merchandise trailer located beyond the concession stand/restroom building.
Bought a tee shirt for my daughter. And then went back to the field. Ran into a videographer that knew me from Yappi. We talked quite a bit throughout the game.
Last week, Copley had lost to Medina Highland, 88-14. Aurora had a pretty good record. Sitting at 3-1 coming into the game. But Copley started off hot. Taking the opening possession down the field for a with a 13 yard TD pas. A 6-0 lead.
But then Aurora would get going. Enzo Catania would score not one, not two, but three straight touchdowns to give Aurora a commanding lead. From 23, 17 and 4 yards out. After that, Tommy Tartabini would get a 5 yard run and Aurora would lead, 28-6 after the first quarter.
Zach Pannetti would go ten yards early in the second, before Ben Lukasik would get on the board with a 16 yard TD reception. Giving Aurora a comfortable 42-6 lead going into halftime. Ensuring a running clock to start the second half.
The third quarter moved briskly. Neither team could score. Though Aurora probably could have but had settled into a comfortable effort to get some playing time for backups and not go all out on a team that they were soundly beating.
The final frame was more of the same. By this point, it seemed both sides were trying to get the game over with rather than either run up the score or tack on a sympathy score. There were a few injury stoppages. And for the most part the game ended mutually with both sides content to just get it over with.
After leaving the stadium, I headed back southeast through Ravenna, and stopped for something to drink at GetGo. Following OH14 to I-76 and heading home. Along the way, I had discovered that there was, in fact, another Thursday game much closer to home. Union, near New Castle, was hosting rival Shenango. It, too, was one-sided. But would’ve been much closer.
Once home, I had planned to leave for Wyoming for a few days. And then I was delayed. Had to run to Boardman in the morning, and then headed out. And that’s when my evening plans took a turn. I had planned to be in Indiana at the bare minimum for a game. Hopefully nearly Illinois. I’d had a few games marked down. And one game as a back-up. Since I was taking I-70 to I-74, my plan was to probably see a game near Covington or Crawfordsville, Indiana. Of which I had several games of interest. One including Western Boone. Since I have passed by their school. They weren’t at home. But were playing in Crawfordsville at one of its several high schools.
And my delay had set me to be somewhere in far Eastern Indiana. Most of the towns were teams I had seen before. I wasn’t quite sure who was at home or who was away. Traffic slowed me down through Columbus. And then construction near Dayton had taken the road down to one lane briefly. I knew of Richmond hosting Arsenal Tech out of Indianapolis. Richmond had been bad for several years. Though Arsenal Tech was a team they would be competitive with. It was also their homecoming.
But, unforeseen circumstances left me late for the game. I had the option of going to National Trail, just inside Ohio. But, I too, had passed on it. I wasn’t in the mood. So, I just called it a night early. I had plans to be in Quincy, Illinois the next afternoon anyways. And this made things easier.
Turns out, Richmond would win that game. Their first win in two years. And it was at homecoming. And a shutout. Would have been a fun game to see, I’m sure.
I got to listen to the CSP-Wilson game instead. And then followed along updates of the Cathedral Prep v. St. Francis game when I got to Danville. The game was 40-40 after regulation. And after six overtimes, the Ramblers of Cathedral Prep won, 78-72. Quite the epic game.
The next morning, I left Danville, Illinois and headed west. Taking the 3.5 hour drive along I-74 to I-72. Going around Springfield toward Hannibal, Missouri. It’s interesting that I-72 originally ended at the interchange with I-172, and the through route continued as I-172 north toward Quincy. And then went up into town. I stopped for a burger at a gas station (mistake, but I was in a hurry). And then found the school atop the hill on the south end of town.
There were a few other options for games. I could’ve stayed in Danville. There was a 3pm game at Schlarman. There also was a 7pm game at St. Thomas More in Champaign. But that would be a lot of time just hanging around. When I planned to be in Wyoming on Monday.
So, I went with the simplest. One that I knew would have no issues. Quincy Notre Dame. The other options were smaller schools well off I-72, and I didn’t want to press my luck whether they were or weren’t going to be played.
I also had to contend with the possibility of rain. And QND had turf. Now, I did make one mistake. The stadium is not Flinn Memorial Stadium. The information I found online must’ve been really outdated. As that was the field that Quincy High School plays at. And at one time where QND had played. Instead, QND played at their school. At a very nice, simple stadium that looked modern with a video scoreboard of questionable quality. It looked nice. But seemed to have issues with the videos that replaced the entire informative part of the screen when used.
Instead, the only name I can find for the field is the name on the scoreboard: Advance Physical Therapy Field. Not a huge fan of sponsored names. But sometimes it’s for the best.
After parking, I walked over to the large entryway to the field. Free programs were handed out. And I passed by all the great smelling food. I had already just eaten a rather plain cheeseburger. And wasn’t looking for more.
#32 – Quincy Notre Dame v. Lift For Life
On the field, there was no real fence surrounding it. Instead, markers with a rope slung around the field to act as the demarcation line. The turf was about 7 years old according to one sideline inhabitant. And I could tell the one time I knelt for a photo.
With the threat of rain, I also didn’t take in my wide angle camera. Instead, just utilizing the zoom.
Quincy Notre Dame entered the game at 0-3. While Lift For Life were 3-0. QND was a well-known school in Illinois. While Lift For Life was a charter school from St. Louis, Missouri. They had been in existence as a football team since 2011. And were fairly good coming out of St. Louis City.
QND needed the win, as Illinois requires 5 wins to be eligible for the playoffs. And they were slim underdogs to their visitors.
The first quarter started with two interceptions by #17, Gavin Doellman. And nearly a third later on a tipped pass. This kept things close. As Lift For Life was moving the ball with ease and QND was struggling. Including setting up a 3rd and 38 at one point in the second half.
After switching ends, QND got on the board with a 25 yard TD pass to Aiden Klauser to go up, 7-0. About 7 minutes later, he’d do it again from 10 yards out. Taking the pass and stumbling in through a tackle attempt for another score. Though the PAT attempt was fruitless.
Late in the game, Lift For Life got things moving. And didn’t throw any interceptions. Noah Ridgel would snag a 17 yard pass for six with 16.2 seconds left. A run was short. But it cut the lead to 13-6. And made the second half interesting.
At halftime, I went up into the visitor stands and did my halftime photos. And decided to sit out most of the third quarter. I had some really good first half shots. And the forecast kept showing rain was just skirting the southwest corner of town. Evident by the dark clouds just inching by. Including the low rumbling of thunder off in the distance. Though no lightning was ever detected nearby. Or through my lightning tracker app on my phone.
In the third, Noah Lunt for QND would get a 1 yard QB sneak. A photo that I had gotten, but was just a jumbled pile that I opted for a shot of the QND banner being ran back and forth across the sideline.
This 20-6 lead would last for QND. As Lift For Life would struggle to move the ball down by two scores. Though QND’s offense, too, would struggle and avoid risk with a comfortable, though slim, lead.
The rain held out through the game. As it just started as I crossed the river into Missouri. And then all hell broke loose.
There was no opportunity for a night game. At least along my route. So, I just followed I-72 west to St. Joseph and then headed up to Rockport. Where I called it a night early. The last time through here to Wyoming, I went across Kansas on US36 before turning north on US83 to I-80. This time, I had headed north on I-29, I went across southern Nebraska along US136, to NE41 and west to NE15 and across NE74 to NE14 to NE4, and continued that until west of Holdrege. Where US34 supplants NE4. I stopped in McCook for lunch. dinner. No photos. Just some chicken wings and sweet tea. Before heading west along US34 toward Culbertson. US6 and US34 split. US34 follows a southwest bend toward Trenton, where I hope to see a game soon at Hitchcock County. And US6 bends northwest toward Imperial and Holyoke, Colorado.
Interesting personal note. I was at the border of Nebraska and Colorado on US6 when I learned that Kobe Bryant had died. It was a brief stop where I had cell service at the time. And that news flooded Twitter.
I drove up through Julesburg, Colorado. Which, I got to see their new high school and field built on the southwest corner of town. Which is now on my bucket list. It sits right near the junction of US385 and CO11. But currently not showing up on Google Maps. Because it was late, I wasn’t stopping for photos. I might in the future.
So, what was I doing in Wyoming?
Overall, my week was short. I’m only counting football related costs. So, it was incredibly cheap. A total of $59. $15 for souvenirs at Aurora. $9 for food. A few dollars for a drink after the game. And gas, though not just from this weekend, was $24 heading to the game in Aurora. Since travel to Wyoming was work related, it’s not counted. Neither the miles nor the cost. Though, I did mark the $6 burger at a gas station because I only stopped there because it was literally the first place to eat coming into Quincy. And it was not worth it.
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
33 New Teams
9 New Stadiums
1,525 different teams
478 different stadiums
1,406 total games
I’ll be in Wyoming for a while. And figure that somewhere in that area of the country I’ll be for the next weekend. But as of this weekend, no real set plans are in place.
For photos from this game, and others this weekend, click HERE.
For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/