By Tony Hooker
There is no question that the talent gap between the Villa Grove Heritage Blue Devils football team and the better teams in the area has narrowed.
Unfortunately, it’s also true that the team has to play error free ball to compete. Both factors were on display during Friday night’s 41-6 loss to Arcola.
The Blue Devils made six forays into Purple Rider territory and could only find the end zone once during the contest, while Arcola, the state’s No. 8 ranked team, used big plays to dent the Devil defense.
Kehm Shirley had 10 carries for 61 yards and Blake Smith hit on 7 of 18 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown to lead VGH offensively. Arcola’s ball hawking defense also intercepted two Smith passes.
Ierik Sorenson had two catches for 48 yards, including a 14-yard second quarter scoring strike. Carson Howard caught two passes for 25 yards, and Shirley rounded out a solid offensive effort by snagging three catches for 15 additional yards. Sophomore Liam Barr saw his first meaningful varsity action, completing a 13-yard slant to Isaac Mahoe and rushing 7 times for a net 13 yards.
Defensively, the Devils were led by Keagan Patterson who had eight tackles and teamed with Clayton Knierim (6 tackles, one for loss) to force a fumble. Zayzen Price continued his solid play at linebacker, registering 7 tackles (one tfl) and breaking up a Purple Rider pass. Logan Nohren chipped in with six tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss.
The Blue Devils will try to get back on the winning track with a 7 p.m. contest versus Sangamon Valley in Niantic.
Pecked by Cardinals
Madie Burwell hammered eight kills and Reagan Cheely served up 11 assists, but it wasn’t enough as the Blue Devils dropped a hard fought 18-25, 25-20, 26-28 decision to Chrisman on Sept. 9.
Out howl Timberwolves
The Blue Devils moved to 2-0 in the Lincoln Prairie Conference with a 16-25, 25-14, 25-21 win over Okaw Valley on September 12. Jordyn Ray and Sam Campbell each had three kills, and Ray served up three aces to lead the way.
Villa Grove Heritage golfer Zach Buesing earned medalist honors with a 38 at Tuscola’s Ironhorse Country Club on Sept. 12.
At Blue Ridge Invite
Zach Buesing fired an 80 to take fourth place at the prestigious Blue Ridge Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14.