SVM Week 4 Football Notebook: Dixon stays undefeated, Sterling gets back on track

Newman rallies for overtime win; Oregon continues to improve

Sterling’s Joseph Holcomb celebrates a late first half score against Galesburg Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023 at Sterling High School.

Week 4 of the football season revealed quite a bit about Sauk Valley area teams. Dixon dominated Genoa-Kingston to move to 4-0, Sterling rolled over Galesburg to improve to 2-2, Newman rallied past Rock Island in overtime to reach 3-1, and Oregon prevailed over Winnebago to climb to 2-2 last Friday night.

Here are the top takeaways from Week 4:

Dixon remains undefeated

The Dukes dominated Genoa-Kingston 30-0 last week at A.C. Bowers Field to stay perfect on the season. Senior quarterback Tyler Shaner went 7-for-9 passing for 119 yards and a touchdown in the first half, with three of those completions going to younger brother Cullen for 53 yards. Tyler Shaner finished the game 9-for-13 passing for 148 yards with a passing touchdown and three rushing touchdowns. Cullen Shaner brought in five passes for 82 yards as the leading receiver, while senior running back Aiden Wiseman added 93 rushing yards on 14 carries. Dixon scored on all three of its first-half possessions. The Dukes’ first three wins came against Stillman Valley, Oregon and Rock Falls.

Sterling getting back on track

The Golden Warriors began their season at 0-2. Now, they’re an even 2-2. Last Friday night, they beat Galesburg 45-14. The week before, they beat United Township 23-19.

Sterling seems to be more settled in its offensive identity midway through the season. Junior quarterback Joseph Holcomb, one of several first-year starters on offense, is getting more comfortable by the week. Last week, he went 4-for-6 passing for 71 yards and two touchdowns, with a dropped pass that should have been a 32-yard touchdown. He also rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

Junior wide receiver Kaedon Phillips, another first-year starter, has three touchdown receptions in the first four games, including a 78-yarder against Galesburg. During the early part of the season, he’s formed a solid receiver duo with senior Mason Emin, who has two touchdown receptions this year. Senior running back/linebacker Andre Klaver has been a solid addition as a two-way starter and punt returner. Through four games, he’s averaging 5.9 yards per touch. He has two rushing touchdowns, as well.

Newman finds a way to win again

Newman won its Week 1 game 12-7 against Rockridge on a last-second touchdown pass from quarterback Evan Bushman to wide receiver Isaiah Williams. This week, it pulled out a 22-20 overtime win. The Comets were on the brink of an upset loss, trailing Rock Island 14-8 early in the fourth quarter, until a Cody McBride 1-yard touchdown run knotted the game at 14-14. In overtime, Bushman hooked up with McBride for the game-winning two-point conversion, sealing the come-from-behind road win.

Oregon continues to look improved

Oregon is now 2-2, coming off a 27-6 win over Winnebago – a win that avenged a 27-8 loss last season. Already, the Hawks have matched their 2022 season win total, and they’ve had a chance to win every game they’ve played this year. Week 3 was a 20-14 overtime loss to Genoa-Kingston. Week 2 was a 29-20 loss to undefeated Dixon.

Oregon was held to eight or fewer points in each of its first seven games of the 2022 season. This season, its average is up to 16.8 points per game, and it scored 14 or more points in three of the first four games.