Normal West senior Terrance Fisher, front, runs with the ball as Normal Community senior Jowanis Edwards, back, follows close behind during a Friday, September 21, 2012 game at Normal Community West High School. (You Name It Sports/Sandy Adams)
By Greg Halbleib
A game with heavy implications in the Big 12 Conference race is the featured attraction in Week 6 of the WJBC Friday Night High School Football Extravaganza.
Normal West (5-0, 5-0 Big 12) visits Urbana (4-1, 3-1) for a 7 p.m. kickoff at McKinley Field in the showcase game. The hosts have won four straight contests after losing the opener to Normal Community. The visiting Wildcats will be without reigning WJBC Ron Smith Printing Intercity High School Football Player of the Year Alex Jefferson for at least six weeks after the quarterback sustained a fractured right tibia in last week’s Chili Bowl win over Normal Community. Wildcats coach Darren Hess has confidence in replacement QB Greg Hiltbrand. “There going to be some minor changes, but we feel we can still do what we do,” said Hess. “He’s not going to be able to scramble and ad lib like Alex can, but I think if he plays within himself and relies on our great wide receivers and running game, we’ll be fine.”
Another team still in the Big 12 hunt, Bloomington (3-2, 3-1) travels to Tommy Stewart Field in Champaign to face the Centennial Chargers (1-4, 1-4). The visiting Purple Raiders lost a non-conference battle on Saturday to Chicago St. Patrick 52-36, a game that BHS coach Rigo Schmelzer hopes becomes a learning experience. “You have to take a look at things that were incorrect,” said Schmelzer, “and address the concept that football is four quarters and that it’s an emotional game.”
U-High (5-0, 4-0) tries to preserve an unblemished record at Williamson Field in Pontiac against the Indians (2-3, 2-2). The Pioneers are off to their best start since the 1989 team which finished 11-1, but coach Dusty Burk knows Pontiac will provide a big test. “They have a great football tradition, but their record is not what they want it to be right now,” said Burk of Pontiac. “They’re very capable of beating good football teams and we’re going to have to play well.” Play-by-play of the Pioneers-Indians game can be heard on www.wjez.com.
Normal Community (2-3, 2-2 Big 12) hopes to rebound from its 35-23 Chili Bowl loss to Normal West with a visit to Decatur Eisenhower (1-4, 1-4). In Corn Belt play, Central Catholic (2-3, 2-2) carries a two-game win streak to Rantoul (1-4, 1-3).
The Extravaganza begins at 6:10 with scene-setters, updates every quarter hour and post-game until 11:00. Regular score updates can be found on Facebook and on the special Extravaganza Twitter feed at WJBCHSFootball.