December 6, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

SJO football back in playoffs, travels to Mt. Carmel for first-round game

For years, playoff football games became an expectation for the St. Joseph-Ogden High School football team.

Making 26 straight playoff appearances from 1991 through 2016 made that a reality.
The playoff history for the Spartans will continue on Saturday. SJO became playoff eligible with its 29-6 home win against Rantoul at Dick Duval Field on Oct. 15.

The Spartans didn’t automatically clinch a playoff berth as a result of their 28-0 loss last Friday night at Paxton-Buckley-Loda, but the midseason push coach Shawn Skinner’s program put together by rattling off five straight wins in Illini Prairie Conference play has SJO back in the playoffs for the 32nd time in school history.

But the Spartans (5-4) will face a daunting task if they want to keep their season going beyond this weekend. SJO is a 15th seed in the IHSA’s Class 3A postseason bracket, with the Spartans traveling on Saturday to take on No. 2 Mt. Carmel (9-0).
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

The Golden Aces, who are in the playoffs for the 39th time, carry a 15-game win streak into Saturday’s game. They haven’t lost a game since falling 23-20 to Vandalia in a 2019 Class 3A second-round playoff game and outscored their foes 333-36 in the regular season en route to a Little Illini Conference title. Mt. Carmel did pick up two forfeit wins this season, but the Golden Aces have not allowed an opponent to score more than two touchdowns in a game all season.

SJO will need a much better offensive performance against Mt. Carmel than what it produced against PBL. The Spartans were shut out for the first time all season, with Evan Ingram completing 10 of 27 passes for 68 yards. Griffin Roesch had four receptions for 26 yards and Ethan Vaniloew had two catches for 20 yards, but the SJO run game struggled to get going as Keaton Nolan had a team-high 18 rushing yards on five carries. Vanilew (nine tackles) and Alex Funk (eight tackles) led the defense.

Ingram leads the Spartans in passing this season, completing 68 of 126 for 814 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Nolan (779 rushing yards on 109 carries and seven touchdowns) is SJO’s go-to option in the backfield, especially with senior Coby Miller (389 rushing yards, four TDs) out with a broken leg. When Ingram drops back to pass, Nolan (19 catches for 269 yards, four TDs), Roesch (17 receptions for 253 yards, four TDs) and Vanliew (11 receptions for 99 yards) are his go-to targets.

In the seven games Mt. Carmel played this season, the Golden Aces averaged 47.3 points. So, Funk (team-high 63 tackles), Vanilew (34 tackles, three interceptions), Owen Birt (33 tackles, including four for loss) and Tyler Burch (26 tackles, three interceptions) will be looked to step up for the SJO defense.

For years, playoff football games became an expectation for the St. Joseph-Ogden High School football team.

Making 26 straight playoff appearances from 1991 through 2016 made that a reality.
The playoff history for the Spartans will continue on Saturday. SJO became playoff eligible with its 29-6 home win against Rantoul at Dick Duval Field on Oct. 15.

The Spartans didn’t automatically clinch a playoff berth as a result of their 28-0 loss last Friday night at Paxton-Buckley-Loda, but the midseason push coach Shawn Skinner’s program put together by rattling off five straight wins in Illini Prairie Conference play has SJO back in the playoffs for the 32nd time in school history.

But the Spartans (5-4) will face a daunting task if they want to keep their season going beyond this weekend. SJO is a 15th seed in the IHSA’s Class 3A postseason bracket, with the Spartans traveling on Saturday to take on No. 2 Mt. Carmel (9-0).
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

The Golden Aces, who are in the playoffs for the 39th time, carry a 15-game win streak into Saturday’s game. They haven’t lost a game since falling 23-20 to Vandalia in a 2019 Class 3A second-round playoff game and outscored their foes 333-36 in the regular season en route to a Little Illini Conference title. Mt. Carmel did pick up two forfeit wins this season, but the Golden Aces have not allowed an opponent to score more than two touchdowns in a game all season.

SJO will need a much better offensive performance against Mt. Carmel than what it produced against PBL. The Spartans were shut out for the first time all season, with Evan Ingram completing 10 of 27 passes for 68 yards. Griffin Roesch had four receptions for 26 yards and Ethan Vaniloew had two catches for 20 yards, but the SJO run game struggled to get going as Keaton Nolan had a team-high 18 rushing yards on five carries. Vanilew (nine tackles) and Alex Funk (eight tackles) led the defense.

Ingram leads the Spartans in passing this season, completing 68 of 126 for 814 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Nolan (779 rushing yards on 109 carries and seven touchdowns) is SJO’s go-to option in the backfield, especially with senior Coby Miller (389 rushing yards, four TDs) out with a broken leg. When Ingram drops back to pass, Nolan (19 catches for 269 yards, four TDs), Roesch (17 receptions for 253 yards, four TDs) and Vanliew (11 receptions for 99 yards) are his go-to targets.

In the seven games Mt. Carmel played this season, the Golden Aces averaged 47.3 points. So, Funk (team-high 63 tackles), Vanilew (34 tackles, three interceptions), Owen Birt (33 tackles, including four for loss) and Tyler Burch (26 tackles, three interceptions) will be looked to step up for the SJO defense.

If the Spartans can secure their first playoff win since 2015, a second-round game against either No. 7 Carlinville (7-2) or No. 10 DuQuoin (5-4) awaits. The Spartans would host Carlinville, but would travel to DuQoin if a second-round game were to materialize.

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