The Lincoln Railer football squad had a
most impressive 35-19 victory Friday night over the Lanphier Lions.
Congratulations to Coach Oaks and his staff for getting his gridders
back on track after the disappointing loss in week one.
What a performance by Chris Boward!
Some reports have him rushing for 201 yards and other reports have
him down for 203 yards. Whatever the official total turns out to be,
that is one impressive night.
Obviously, that could not have been
accomplished without a great performance by the offensive line,
especially in the second half. They opened up some nice holes that
sprung Boward and others at the critical time to put the game away.
I don't want to start naming names of every lineman because I'll
leave someone out. Surely, there is a mother or grandmother or a
proud dad or granddad out there who can mention everyone we need to
know about? Send those names to us.
Curt Courtwright also had an awesome
night. Courtwright scampered 80 yards through a herd of defenders
and initiated the scoring for the 2004 Railers. He also cruised for
89 yards on only nine carries to demonstrate more great running and
more great blocking.
Hats off to the defense as well. They
stopped the Lions when they had to. When Lanphier scored to make it
28-19 Lincoln, the Lions were on a roll and decided to go for two.
Lincoln's defensive wall hung tough and stopped them, and in many
respects that was the ballgame. Coach Oaks has been giving Lincoln
defensive lineman Lance Agostino some rave reviews over the last two
seasons. Even though he doesn't have tremendous size, the coach
calls him "the quickest lineman I have ever had." The only time my
coaches ever called me quick was when I went through the buffet
The kicking game, and actually all
special teams, were fairly special, as Lincoln also recovered an
onside kick. All in all a performance that the fans would like to
see repeated on a regular basis.
On opening day Illinois matched their
win total from a season ago with an impressive 52-13 showing of
their own. The Illini beat Florida A & M, which does have the
funkiest band I've ever seen. That game was well-scheduled and
exactly what I would want if I were coaching in the Big Time. You
need to build confidence the first two or three weeks of any season
and get your team in the bowl-bound mix.
A couple of LDN correspondent Greg
Taylor's favs, backs Pierre Thomas and E.B. Halsey, had nice runs
for Illinois. Thomas scampered for 143 yards on 14 rushes while
Halsey tallied 79 on 16 carries. QB Jon Beutjer had an outstanding
day as well, connecting on 16-of-18 for 228 yards and no
interceptions! Leading the pass catchers was Kendrick Jones, who
snagged three passes for 101 yards. Many Illini receivers looked
good in their time on the field, and freshman kicker Jason Reda
scored 10 points in his Illini debut.
The best performances of the day,
however, may have come on the defensive side of the ball. New "D"
coordinator Mike Mallory was unveiled to the Illini faithful, and he
didn't disappoint in his initial voyage. Morris Virgil, a converted
running back, looked pretty good with the defensive unit. But how
'bout the day former receiver Kelvin Hayden had? All he did was
intercept two passes, taking one to the house, forced a fumble, and
I think he may have sold a few programs on the side! It is doubtful
that Illinois' defense did more than that in all of 12 games last
Hats off to a crowd of almost 50,000
who showed up for opening day. I guess the sunshine lovers will be
back if Illinois wins another game or two.
[to top of second column in
A great start to the campaign was also
enjoyed in Normal on Thursday night as the ISU Redbirds mauled the
St. Xavier Cougars 44-14 before over 7,500 happy fans at Hancock
Stadium. Demetrus Johnson led the way with 161 yards and three
touchdowns, including a 70-yard sprint the first time ISU touched
the ball. Yance Vaughn looked good at QB, going 13-20 for 225 and
two TDs. The Redbirds tackle Minnesota on the road next Saturday. [Click
here for pre-game notes.]
The Cards pretty much won about every
game since we posted the last Mutterings, which makes writing about
them all the more exhilarating. Winning the series against both the
Pads and the Dodgers is exciting, but sweeping them was just not
what I expected. The injury to Larry Walker concerns me mainly
because the Cards are not all that deep in the outfield. I would
like to see them continue to take care of business and then rest as
many starters as possible while still keeping their timing intact.
The Cubs were sidelined for the weekend
because of the fury of Hurricane Frances but still look to be in the
driver's seat in the NL wild card race.
The Lady Railers got their volleyball
season started on the right foot by winning their first two matches.
LCC got a taste of volleyball in the Big Time as they traveled to
the University of Alaska for a tournament. [Click
here for results.]
This very column suggested to you loyal
LDN readers that it wouldn't be Phil Mickelson nor would it be Ernie
Els, although those would have been two of the best choices you
could have made. The guess here was that it would be Vijay Singh who
would overtake Tiger Woods as the No. 1 player in the world. Did you
see what happened yesterday?
Speaking of golf… I got to spend a few
minutes (less than 75) this weekend down at the Rail, where Christie
Kerr won her fourth LPGA title by firing a ridiculous 24-under-par
264, good enough to claim the top prize of $180,000. She staved off
the wild and crazy Christina Kim, who also shot a blistering 265 to
come up one shot short, but Kim's second-place finish was the best
of her young career. I did speak with fan favorite Kate Golden, who
managed her same friendly manner in spite of not really being in
The Rail seemed to be in as good a
shape as I've ever seen it, and of course it is susceptible to low
scores. So the records broken were not much of a surprise. Hats off
to the Rail and its group of workers for bringing in such a premier
event to central Illinois.
NFL football starts this week!
Non-sports items of the week:
The Illinois Symphony played Friday
night at LCC, and we caught the concert before Railer football
action. Karen Lynne Deal is as good a conductor as there is in the
business. That orchestra is phenomenal, and if you missed them you
missed one of the best treats in Lincoln in 2004!
Hats off to Lincoln Fire Chief Bucky
Washam and his entire staff for the great open house they annually
throw for the area kids! Our son loves it so much he figures the
fire department will probably call him to assign him to a truck. The
kids all had a great time and so did the parents.
for me... Have a great week, everybody!