Normal West senior quarterback Alex Jefferson during a game on Friday, September 14, 2012 against Danville at Normal Community West High School in Normal, Illinois. (You Name It Sports/Sandy Adams)
By Greg Halbleib
A pair of fall traditions—chili and high school football—meet in the annual clash of Unit 5 rivals to highlight Week 5 of the WJBC Friday Night High School Football Extravaganza.
Normal Community (2-2) travels the seven miles across the community to take on Normal West (4-0) in the annual Chili Bowl. The visiting Ironmen broke a two-game skid with last week’s 42-21 home win over Champaign Centennial. “It was good for our kids to come back after a couple of tough ones,” said Ironmen coach Wes Temples. “We came back to work, everyone got to play and it really helps the morale of the team.”
West coach Darren Hess is ready for a typical Unit 5 rivalry. “It’s always a big game for both sides,” said Hess, “It’s come to a point, at least in the last few years, that it’s become very competitive and I don’t see it being any less this week.” The Wildcats stayed unbeaten with last week’s 49-39 triumph at home over Danville by the closest margin of the season. The Chili Bowl coupled with reports from area games can be heard on WJBC-AM 1230, WJBC-FM 93.7 and www.wjbc.com beginning with scene-setters tonight at 6:10.
Central Catholic (1-3) has a spring in the step this week after picking the first victory of the season last Saturday, a 53-14 win at Eureka. “You could tell on Monday in the tone of practice,” said Saints coach Bobby Moews. “The kids’ attitudes, the way they were approaching things. Getting a ‘W’ makes everybody a little happier.” The Saints host Pontiac (2-2), with updates on WJBC during Extravaganza coverage and complete play-by-play at www.wjez.com.
Bloomington (3-1) steps out of the Big 12 Conference for a Saturday afternoon contest at home against Chicago St. Patrick (2-2). BHS coach Rigo Schmelzer views the matinee as a measuring stick. “It’s not bad for us,” said Schmelzer. “It’s the idea of having a playoff-caliber team coming to our field, to get the kids used to a weekend game without the results of being done for the year if we lose, and to measure ourselves against outside competition.” The game can be heard as a special WJBC web cast at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/wjbc.portal# beginning at 1:15 on Saturday.
Fred Carlton Field won’t be the only local gridiron in use on Saturday, as U-High (4-0) hosts Eureka (1-3) at 1:00 at Hancock Stadium. “In a lot of ways, our kids have grown up and matured, but I still think there’s a lot of room for improvement,” said U-High coach Dusty Burk despite the Pioneers coming in sixth in the latest Class 5A poll. “That’s something we’ve continued to talk to them about this week, that we’ve got to continue to make ourselves better.” U-High stayed perfect in the campaign by holding off Prairie Central 34-30 last week.
The Extravaganza also features updates on Prairie Central at Olympia, LeRoy at Heyworth and Ridgeview at Deer Creek-Mackinaw. Pre-game scene-setters begin at 6:10, with regular updates during Chili Bowl play-by-play and the post-game debriefing session until 11:00. Score updates can also be found on the WJBC Facebook page and the special high school football Twitter feed (WJBCHSFootball).