SVM Week 6 Football Notebook: Sterling gets much-needed win; Amboy tops Milledgeville in battle of unbeatens

Newman hangs on to move to 5-1; Oregon remains in playoff hunt

Newman’s Cody McBride is tackled by against Bureau Valley’s Elijah Endress Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 in Sterling.

Week 6 of the football season saw playoff hopes revived for some teams and dashed for others. Sterling beat Geneseo on the road to improve to 3-3, Newman held off Bureau Valley at home to improve to 5-1, Amboy topped Milledgeville on the road to move to 6-0, and Oregon rolled over Stillman Valley on the road to get to 3-3 on Friday night.

Here are the takeaways from Week 6:

Sterling bounces back, beats undefeated Geneseo

At 2-3 heading into Week 6, the Golden Warriors badly needed a win. With a hard-fought 13-3 victory over 5-0 Geneseo, that’s exactly what they got. Quarterback Drew Nettleton put Sterling in front 7-3 with a 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mason Emin as 1:51 remained in the first half.

With the score 7-3 in the final seconds of the game, the Maples Leafs had one last chance to win it. On fourth-and-goal from the Sterling 6-yard line, Geneseo running back Jeron Neal took a handoff and bounced the run to his right. Cornerback Cale Ledergerber won a footrace to the goal line, and upended Neal just short of the end zone before teammates arrived to help finish the tackle and force the turnover on downs. Quarterback Joseph Holcomb then rushed for a 99-yard touchdown as time expired to cap the 13-3 victory.

Newman hangs on for Three Rivers East win, improves to 5-1

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Newman Comets got the job done with a 20-14 win over Bureau Valley last week. Quarterback Evan Bushman responded to an opening-drive pick-six by leading two touchdown drives in the first half. On the next drive, he led an 81-yard scoring drive, capped by a 2-yard Daniel Kelly touchdown run, to take an 8-6 lead. A couple of drives later, Bushman threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Williams to stretch it to 14-6 with 3:15 left in the first half. The Storm tied the game at 14 late in the third quarter and threatened to score a game-winning touchdown in the finals minutes, but Newman’s defense came up huge to ensure the win.

Senior Carter Rude forced a fumble at midfield, and Newman recovered with 3:14 to play. A 25-yard Rude touchdown run regained the Comets’ lead at 20-14 with just under two minutes left. Senior Caleb Donna recorded two big sacks on back-to-back plays on the final Bureau Valley possession to force a turnover on downs and end the game.

Amboy stays undefeated with win over Milledgeville

The Amboy-LaMoille-Ohio Clippers defeated the Milledgeville Missiles 32-20 in a duel between top eight-man teams. After a 48-42 win last week over Ridgewood, another top eight-man team, Amboy traveled to Milledgeville and stretched its winning streak to six games.

Running back Landon Whelchel rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries to lead the offense. Quarterback Eddie Jones threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Troy Anderson for a 12-point lead with about 30 seconds left in the third quarter, and Amboy’s defense took care of the rest. With Ashton-Franklin Center, Orangeville and Polo left to play, the Clippers have a shot at an undefeated season.

Oregon vying for first playoff appearance since 2014

The Oregon Hawks defeated the Stillman Valley Cardinals 28-7 last week behind 112 rushing yards and three touchdowns from running back Logan Weems. Quarterback Jack Washburn had an efficient game, completing 9 of 13 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown, and Josh Crandall was the top target, catching three passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.

After finishing 2-7 last season and being held to eight or fewer points in six games last year, Oregon looks greatly improved. The Hawks have a very good chance to end a nine-year playoff drought, needing only two wins in three upcoming games against Rock Falls (1-5), Rockford Lutheran (3-3) and Rockford Christian (0-6) to become eligible.