NewsTribune Football Notebook: Illinois Valley teams set for rivalry games

It’s rivalry week for several area teams this week as St. Bede travels to Hall and Bureau Valley plays at Princeton.

The Red Devils (1-6) are 6-3 against the Bruins (5-2) since the Route 6 rivals renewed their series in 2012.

St. Bede won the spring game 27-6 and will look to win back-to-back games for the first time against Hall since the rivalry restarted. The Red Devils have twice won three in a row in the series from 2013-15 and 2017-19.

The Bruins are coming off a 47-20 loss to Princeton, while Hall lost 43-0 to Newman last week.

Princeton (6-1) and Bureau Valley (2-5) will play for just the third time ever and the first time since 1998.

The Tigers beat the Strm 53-16 in 1997 and 40-0 in 1998.

“These kids are surrounded by one another, see each other at the Met and different things. I think there’s going to be of emotions coming into that game,” Princeton coach Ryan Pearson said. “I think every business in Bureau County should be closed for that one. Being the proximity that we are and two proud programs, I’m glad to see that game back on the docket.”


La Salle-Peru plays Morris (7-0) this week at Howard Fellows Stadium.

This season, the Cavaliers are 1-2 against teams that currently have a winning record with a 28-21 win over Morton (5-2), a 14-7 loss to Metamora (5-2) and a 23-0 loss to Sycamore (5-2).

The Redskins are 2-0 against teams currently with winning records, beating Marengo (4-3) 42-0 and Coal City (5-2) 13-3.


Princeton has secured its third consecutive playoff berth with a 47-20 win over St. Bede in Week 7 to improve to 6-1.

The Bruins, La Salle-Peru and Mendota are all playoff eligible at 5-2.

According to Shaw Media’s Steve Soucie, double digit 4-5 teams could make the playoff field, so Bureau Valley is not out at 2-5, but the Storm must win their final two games against Princeton and Hall.

The Red Devils (1-6) and Fieldcrest (0-7) have been eliminated from postseason contention.


Mendota played its last Friday night game of the regular season in Week 7, losing 56-7 to Kewanee.

The Trojans (5-2) play host to Newman (4-3) at 5 p.m. Saturday then finish the regular season at St. Bede on Thursday, Oct. 21.

Mendota played one other non-Friday game this season, beating rival Hall 43-34 at home in Week 5.


La Salle-Peru has gained 83 percent of its offensive yards on the ground this season, averaging 261.5 rushing yards per game and running for more than 300 yards twice.

While the Cavaliers are unbalanced in how they move the ball down field, they are balanced in their running game.

Running back Matt Carrico and quarterback Sean Whitfield each have 109 carries.

Carrico has rushed for 609 yards and five touchdowns, while Whitfield has gained 551 yards and scored nine TDs.

Carrico leads the area in rushing at 101.5 yards per game and Whitfield is fourth at 91.8 yards per game.


Fieldcrest has relied heavily on its passing attack this season, throwing for 1,143 yards while running for 196.

However, due to injuries and ineligibility, the Knights (0-7) were without their top three quarterbacks for Saturday’s game against Stockton.

So the Knights turned to their running game.

Freshman Eddie Lorton, who has started at running back and receiver this season, started at quarterback while senior Ethan Stoeger played running back.

Lorton ran for 47 yards on 16 carries, while Stoeger rushed for 35 yards on nine attempts while scoring his first career varsity touchdown.

The Knights finished with 103 rushing yards on 37 carries for their first 100-yard game of the season.

“We let those two (Lorton and Stoeger) do what they could while running some jet sweeps as well,” Fieldcrest coach Mike Freeman said. “Our 100-plus yards came on 37 carries. Not a great yards per carry (average) but something to be happy about. We feel the game could have been significantly different if we were able to throw the ball like we have in past games with our starting quarterback.”