Sep. 6—The season is a little more than two weeks old and nearly every area team already has at least one loss. So parity may be the theme for the next two months. Sports Editor Matt Daniels tries to make sense of it so far with his second batch of rankings:
1. Champaign Central
Previous ranking: No. 2
The skinny: After taking third on Saturday at the Urbana Invitational, Diego Zarco and the Maroons won handily on Tuesday at Peoria Manual. Central visits Peoria again on Thursday for a Big 12 match at Richwoods.
Previous ranking: No. 4
The skinny: Bulldogs finished second at the Urbana Invitational, losing to Springfield in the title match. Coach Jeremy Davis' team tied with Chatham Glenwood on Tuesday night and will next be back in action on Thursday night at home against Charleston.
Previous ranking: No. 1
The skinny: The Tigers had a tough time at their own tournament, eventually placing seventh. But a home win on Tuesday night against Uni High has Kevin Perez and his teammates on a two-match win streak going into Thursday night's home match at Randy Blackman Field with nearby Big 12 rival Centennial.
4. Fisher/Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley
Previous ranking: 6
The skinny: Jacob Chittick and the Bunnies have faced two straight difficult opponents on the road, picking up an impressive win at St. Joseph-Ogden on Tuesday. Coach Robby Dinkins' program will look to continue its strong recent play on Thursday at Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond.
5. St. Joseph-Ogden
Previous ranking: No. 5
The skinny: The Spartans lost at home against Fisher/Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley on Tuesday, a day after Zach Harper tied a single-match school record with five goals during a Labor Day nonconference home victory against Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin.
6. St. Thomas More
Previous ranking: No. 7
The skinny: After a week off, the Sabers got back on the field Tuesday and responded with a home win against Cornerstone. Parker Moore and his STM teammates have big test on Thursday at St. Joseph-Ogden.
7. Uni High
Previous ranking: NR
The skinny: The Illineks have kept it competitive with Champaign Central and Urbana before coming out with losses against the Class 2A programs, both on the road. Leor Gal & Co. try to bounce back on Thursday at home against Arthur Christian School.
Previous ranking: No. 3
The skinny: The schedule has increased in difficulty for the Chargers, who lost on Tuesday night at reigning Class 2A state champion Peoria Notre Dame. Zander Hackman and his teammates try to get back in the win column Thursday when they make the short trip to play at Urbana.
9. Hoopeston Area
Previous ranking: No. 10
The skinny: The lone loss for the Cornjerkers happened in their season opener, with Hoopeston Area giving St. Joseph-Ogden one of its closest matches so far. Talan Nelson-Gredy is a scoring threat once he crosses midfield as Hoopeston Area plays at BHRA on Thursday.
10. Oakwood/Salt Fork
Previous ranking: NR
The skinny: Brody Taflinger and Ethan Merritt keyed a good second half for Oakwood/Salt Fork against Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Westville on Tuesday night in Georgetown, as O/SF overcame a 1-0 deficit to notch the win. Goalkeeper Jakob Rupp also made one save in the road win. O/SF is back on its home pitch on Thursday against Rantoul in nonconference play.