Illinois High School Football News

NewsTribune football notebook: L-P’s Maalik Madrigal making impact in move to RB

St. Bede (4-0) entering bye, Princeton’s Carson Etheridge eager to return from injury

St. Bede’s Callan Hueneburg dives for a touchdown against Newman Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.

Last fall, Maalik Madrigal played receiver for La Salle-Peru and served as a perimeter blocker in the Cavaliers’ rushing attack.

Over the summer, Madrigal got some work at running back, but the coaches ultimately decided to leave him in the same role.

“We felt he would help more with perimeter blocking and at receiver at the beginning of the season,” L-P coach Jose Medina said.

However, before L-P’s Week 3 game at Woodstock North, the coaches decided to try him at running back.

“He has a big frame and wanted to see what he could do at the position,” Medina said.

Madrigal delivered as he rushed for 77 yards on 15 carries in L-P’s 21-13 victory over the Thunder.

“He ran hard and gave our offense second and short opportunities,” Medina said.

Madrigal continued to perform well in the Cavs’ 47-14 victory over Plano on Friday as he rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Madrigal’s effort was part of an L-P rushing attack that racked up 335 yards and five TDs on 48 carries.

Waiting to return

Princeton senior Carson Etheridge continues to play the waiting game coming back from a knee injury he suffered this spring in track.

When cleared to play, he would have to practice for two weeks.

“I’m waiting [to play],” he said during Wednesday’s practice

His waiting game will have to wait longer, unfortunately. He got disappointing news Thursday as he was not cleared to play by his physical therapist and doctor.

He completely tore his ACL and both MCLs doing a warmup in track.

“I was kicking up and over the hurdles and my foot caught it and came down on the one end and twisted weird,” he said.

Etheridge said it stinks to just watch but is being supportive as the team plays on.

For now, Etheridge keeps busy any way he can, cheering on his teammates in games and picking up footballs and equipment during practice. He also is keeping a close eye on freshman brother, Casey, who’s been getting some reps for the varsity in their blowout games.

“He’s been doing good. I like watching him,” he said. “He’s fun to watch.”

Learning the game

The new football co-op between Hall and Putnam County has come together well this season.

PC has given the Red Devils program a much needed numbers boost with the addition of 18 players this fall. The list includes two seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and 11 freshmen.

Still, the co-op has just 16 upperclassmen, six seniors (three from each school) and 10 juniors (seven for Hall, three for PC).

“The kids are really good,” Hall coach Randy Tieman said.

The catch: The PC kids are learning the game as few have played much before. None saw varsity time through the first three weeks.

“They’re learning and they understand that, and we’re trying to give them playing time when we can and still try to teach them what’s going on,” Tieman said. “They’ve never played football, especially the older kids. It’s hard to get them in when they really don’t know what’s going on, but we’re trying.”

The Red Devils are off a 1-3 start, dropping Friday’s game at Morrison in overtime, 38-32.

Hall will be home for Week 5 for Mendota (2-2).

Between them Hall and PC have a combined enrollment of 702 and would be classified now as a 4A team. On its own, Hall had an enrollment of 437 as a 3A school.

‘Correcting the mistakes’

After improving to 4-0 with a 38-14 win over Newman on Friday, St. Bede enters a Week 5 bye with Riverdale canceling its varsity season.

“Tuesday and Wednesday we’ll work on us, correcting the mistakes we’ve made,” St. Bede coach Jim Eustice said. “Thursday we will preview our last four opponents. Friday we’ll have weights and a light practice.”

Eustice said Bruin coaches will be “out and about” on Friday scouting opponents.

On Saturday, St. Bede is holding a fundraiser dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. at the St. Bede shelter. Cost is $10 and includes a pork sandwich, two sides, dessert and bottled water.

The Bruins return to action for their homecoming game against Bureau Valley at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.

‘Making strides’

Bureau Valley quarterback Bryce Helms had some struggles in Friday’s 40-7 loss at Kewanee, but the first-time QB came up with a big play in the third quarter to cut the Storm’s deficit to 26-7.

Taking the snap from BV’s 4-yard line, Helms rolled right – briefly running into the end zone – before tossing a pass to Eli Attig, who snagged it, got by two defenders and raced 96 yards for a touchdowns.

“Bryce is young,” BV coach Mat Pistole said. “He’s making strides, but he still has a long way to go. He’s played quarterback for like two months now.

“He got around the corner on a boot leg we run. He’s starting to understand to keep his eyes downfield but look to run first. I think he was ready to run, then he saw Eli. Eli doesn’t have the best hands in the world, but he made a great play there. I’m happy for Eli and Bryce to have that big play.”