Here are the Springfield area's top takeaways from Week 4 of the 2023 high school football season.
Pretzels get first shutout in four seasons
New Berlin improved to 3-1 with a 40-0 road win over Pittsfield, and along the way recorded its first shutout since 2019. The Pretzels forced three turnovers that led to three touchdowns in a span of three minutes. Chase Daugherty's interception return of 54 yards, set up quarterback Lucas Bixby's 3-yard TD run with 15 seconds remaining in the first half. New Berlin went into intermission with a 14-0 lead.
The Pretzels then forced a fumble to start the second half and Bixby connected with Tanner Frye for a 25-yard TD reception to make it 21-0 with 10:39 left in the third quarter. Chris Duffie capped the scoring barrage when he intercepted a pass and raced 35 yards for a TD to give New Berlin a commanding 27-0 advantage with 9:20 left in the third.
The Pretzels host Stanford Olympia in a big Sangamo Conference matchup next Friday. The Spartans upset Williamsville 27-20 to also improve to 3-1.
Olympia’s upset shakes up Sangamo
3A No. 9 Stanford Olympia is a force to be reckoned with in the Sangamo.
Jack Pagel erased any doubts about that with the go-ahead 50-yard touchdown run to upset Class 3A No. 3 Williamsville, 27-20.
Olympia ascended to the 3A state quarterfinals last season before dropping to the eventual state runner-up Bullets, 41-21, and returned eight starters on both sides of the ball — with six playing both ways.
Last week, the Spartans nearly toppled 2A No. 4 Athens in a 14-6 loss after giving up a 14-yard TD run by Cory Craig Jr. early in the third quarter.
They also host 2A top-ranked Maroa-Forsyth in Week 6.
Athens and Maroa-Forsyth are both 4-0 in the Sangamo while New Berlin, Williamsville and Stanford Olympia sit at 3-1. The Warriors travel to Williamsville in Week 5. Maroa-Forsyth hosts winless Pittsfield on Friday.
A matchup between Athens and Maroa-Forsyth could determine the Sangamo Conference title but fans have to wait until the season finale. That game is in Maroa.
U-High moves into driver’s seat
Normal University coach Brody Walworth knows how to build a winning culture.
The Pioneers (3-1) trumped Decatur MacArthur 28-14 after jumping to a 28-0 halftime lead.
QB Alex Weiland went 11-for-16 for 165 yards and three TDs while rushing for another score. Mason Willis had five receptions for 101 yards and three scores.
U-High, which previously went 3-6 last season, opened Week 1 with a 35-18 Central State Eight Conference win over Springfield High before challenging but ultimately losing to Sacred Heart-Griffin, 35-17.
Lanphier and Urbana loom next with a combined 0-8 record. A pair of wins all but guarantee U-High's first playoff berth since 2015.
Walworth, who took over in 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, previously led Pleasant Plains to its only state finals appearance in 2017. The Cardinals went 1-8 before he took the helm for the Cardinals in 2014.
Mount Zion touts electric receivers
Taylorville coach Jeb Odam alluded to NCAA Division I-caliber receivers among Mount Zion’s roster.
He wasn't exaggerating.
Junior Brayden Trimble and senior Grant McAtee especially wreaked havoc in Mount Zion’s 28-6 Apollo Conference win over the Tornadoes.
Trimble, 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, tallied 10 catches for 107 yards and a score.
He was the most explosive player on the field with an electrifying blend of speed and power.
Trimble either eluded tacklers with a burst of speed and agility, or just flattened them to the turf. He so far has offers from Miami (Ohio) and Northwestern, according to 247Sports, and totaled 1,134 yards and 12 TDs last season.
McAtee, 6-4 and 190 pounds, garnered four catches for 66 yards and two scores against Taylorville. He compiled 780 receiving yards and 15 scores last fall.
Sophomores Jacob Harvey and JC Anderson are couple of additional players to follow this season and beyond.
Chatham Glenwood defense shows stinginess
Glenwood posted its third straight shutout after beating Springfield High 33-0 at Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
Glenwood forced five Springfield turnovers, including intercepting sophomore quarterback Brody Scheffler four times. Two of those picks by senior cornerback Jack Dettro, deflated the Senators’ spirits.
The Titans have outscored their three previous opponents 168-0 by defeating Lanphier 77-0 and Decatur Eisenhower 58-0 in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively. Glenwood escaped Danville 14-12 at home to open the season. The Titans' first four opponents have a combined record of 3-13.
The Glenwood defense will be tested over the next four weeks when it has an away game at Decatur MacArthur (1-3) before hosting rival Sacred Heart-Griffin (3-1) and upstart Normal University (3-1). Powerhouse Rochester (4-0) comes calling on Oct. 13 in a game at Rocket Booster Stadium.
Rochester’s offense clicks at the start
Rochester’s offense fired on all cylinders immediately after kickoff in a 56-0 Central State Eight Conference rout against Jacksonville at Rocket Booster Stadium.
Junior quarterback Bryan Zulauf threw a 56-yard TD pass to senior receiver Henry Buecker on just the second play of the game and the 4A top-ranked Rockets (4-0 overall, 3-0 CS8) led 28-0 by the end of the first quarter.
Zulauf finished 12 of 14 for 328 yards and five TDs with one pick. Buecker had five catches for 155 yards and three scores while Mason Jacobs had three catches for 94 yards and a TD.
Senior Nolan Mrozowski added 118 rushing yards on just six carries and Rochester totaled 594 offensive yards.
In the 49-21 Week 3 win at Decatur MacArthur, Rochester’s offense didn’t get rolling until the third quarter before putting away the Generals.
This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: IHSA football: Top takeaways from around Springfield for Week 4