The Times Week 8 Football Notebook: Seneca, Marquette, Ottawa’s Levi Sheehan making history; FCW’s tough schedule

Streator's Zach Schultz takes down Wilmington's Colin James at Doug Dieken Stadium during Week 8 action.

The 8-0 Seneca Fighting Irish – with a combination of a high-scoring offense and a strong defense – are a victory this Friday against visiting Dwight away from posting an undefeated regular season for the first time since 2000.

The Seneca offense has scored 301 points, the most in program history (second is the 273 in 1990) through the first eight games of a season, and no less than 28 points in a game and at least 35 or more in the other seven games played.

On the defensive side, the Irish have allowed just 84 points, which ranks 10th all-time through first eight games – with the 1991 squad tops at 39. They have also shut out four on-field opponents, matching the 1991 team, but the current four on the field in a row is a program record.

Seneca allowed a TD early in the fourth quarter against Catlin Salt Fork in Week 3, but hasn’t allowed a point in its last 191 minutes, 50 seconds of game clock since.

— Brian Hoxsey

FCW’s schedule toughest in 8-man

If it’s felt to fans of Flanagan-Cornell-Woodland as if their Falcons had to have played the toughest schedule in the Illinois 8-Man Football Association, well, you’re right.

Seven of the nine opponents on FCW’s 2022 schedule currently have above-.500 records, and collectively those nine foes have a combined 53-19 record (.736) this season.

Only one other 8-man team – Bushnell Prairie City – has seven opponents with above-.500 marks, its opponents a collective 47-25 (.653).

Alden-Hebron and Freeport Aquin have six, and 10 of the I8FA’s 28 teams have five above-.500 opponents on their schedules.

The Blue Ridge Co-Op – which FCW lost to 38-28 in a Week 7 game that came down a failed two-point conversion to tie and a long TD run on fourth down at midfield to put it away for the Knights – has only one currently above-.500 team on its regular-season schedule.

— J.T. Pedelty

A decade of success for Marquette

Marquette already had clinched its 10th consecutive IHSA postseason berth before last Friday’s last-minute forfeit victory over Christ the King lifted the Crusaders’ record to 7-1.

The unexpected bye week provides a great time to take a moment and reflect on the turnaround the Marquette football program has had under head coach Tom Jobst the past decade.

Marquette’s 10-year run of playoff appearances – during which the Crusaders have rang up a 92-17 record in seasons ending with a postseason (a 4-2 mark in the COVID-caused spring 2021 season not included) – followed a 10-year run of losing seasons for the Crusaders during which Marquette went 20-70.

Marquette’s longest run of consecutive playoff appearances prior to the current on was four years, from 1982-85 under head coach Jeff Johnson.

— J.T. Pedelty

Ottawa’s Sheehan closing in on another record

Ottawa senior wide receiver Levi Sheehan had already stamped his name across the Pirates’ pass-catching record book last season as a junior, but he has continued to break marks this season and has one more in sight.

Levi Sheehan

In last year’s campaign, Sheehan finished second in single-season reception yardage (667), as well as third in catches (43) and tied for third in TDs (five).

Last week at Morris with eight catches, Sheehan became the program’s all-time leader in career receptions (70), passing the 56-year old record of 65 held by Steve Sipula, who played from 1965-66.

This week at home against Woodstock, Sheehan needs 34 receiving yards to pass Sipula (1,032) for the career yardage mark and one TD catch – that would give him 12 – to break a tie at the top of that list with Cody Stokes (2012-13).

Through eight weeks this season, Sheehan has made 27 catches for 332 yards and five TDs.

— Brian Hoxsey

A muddy but clean game at Streator

Perhaps it was the miserable weather, perhaps it was clean play, but the officials in Friday’s Wilmington at Streator, Illinois Central Eight Conference game at Doug Dieken Stadium kept their flags in their pockets during an eventual 57-6 Wilmington victory.

The two teams were penalized only four times for a combined 28 yards. All four of those enforced penalties occurred in the third quarter.

— J.T. Pedelty