PREP FOOTBALL: Coal Bucket hits 60th year

Sep. 14—GEORGETOWN — For the 60th year of the Coal Bucket game, there will be a small twist.

This year's schedule moved the game from its traditional Week 9 spot to Week 4, but Westville coach Guy Goodlove said it doesn't matter where the game is placed.

"Back in 2000 and 2001, I believe it was the second game of the season, so this has happened before when it moved up in the season," Goodlove said. "The game creates a great atmosphere for High School Football, so it can be played in the first game of the year or last game of the year.

"But with a game like this, you have to be mentally prepared and physically ready to play. We have had teams go in 0-8 and 1-7 and given no chance to win, but we get a win, so the old saying 'take the records out' is true for this game. Kids that haven't done anything all year does something here and I have had kids that have never caught a pass and they catch 4-5 passes and score 2-3 touchdowns and you wonder where it came from."

Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman coach Dwayne Grider played for the Buffaloes, so for him, it is a change of pace.

"Playing the Coal bucket is odd to play this time of the year for some of us old timers," Grider said. "It usually builds up toward the end of the year. I hope the mystique doesn't go away and it doesn't go away for the players, especially the five seniors that we have."

The Buffaloes are 0-3 overall and in the Vermilion Valley Conference, but are coming off their best performance in some time in a 27-20 loss at Clifton Central last week.

"I didn't get to go to the game, and he team and the two coaches that were left behind to take that task on short notice, performed wonderfully," Grider said. "Our captain, Rylan Mosier ran the defense, (assistant coach) Bryce Herrin ran the offense and Steve Silwa was up in the press box. We almost pulled it off and I couldn't be more proud of them. If we didn't make some key mistakes, we could have got it."

Goodlove saw tape of the Clifton Central game and knows that the Buffaloes are going to be a different team than last year.

"They play the game like they have a chip on their shoulder and they have so much to prove," Goodlove said. "They will come out and be very physical and play hard and they are fighting for every inch on the field. I am impressed with the Mosier kid, he goes after it. He runs over people and he is flying all over the field. He's as good as a player as there is in the conference.

"Caiden Burress, George Carswell and the quarterback (Maddox Kochevar) has been very impressive. They want to play and they have nothing to lose and they play their hearts out. Those kids in the trenches are battling tooth and nail for what they are getting and it will be a dogfight. If you are going to gain a yard, you are going to earn that yard. They are playing hard and they want to make something good happen to the program."

The Tigers are 2-1 after losing to Momence 34-14 last week at home.

"Momence was physical and very athletic," Goodlove said. "When we loaded up the box, they passed the ball, when we had players in coverage, they ran the ball. When you had Brogan Halpin and Tyrell Aultman covered, No. 3 (Eddie Ferreira), 4 (Terence Aultman), and 5 (Marchello Draine) made the plays. No. 54 (Nick Charbonneau) was as good as a lineman we have seen all season. Teams getting ready to play Momence should not underestimated them and it will take a good team to beat them."

Grider said that after being close to victory last week, it would be great to get his first win as GRFC head coach at the Coal Bucket.

"Last week, I have no words with how they fought adversity," Grider said. "Practice is upbeat and I told the guys that if we are going to win our first game, this would be the game because it will be the biggest and a wonderful time to get that first win."

Grider also said it would be a great win for Mosier, one of those five seniors and the unquestioned star of the team.

"His drive can not be compared. A player like him does not come along often," Grider said. "He's very dedicated. He watches game film constantly and his work ethic is incomparable. He has the respect of the whole team and he is their leader. It takes several people to tackle him and he runs the defense. He should be a player that plays at the next level."

Friday's game will be at Georgetown for the first time since the 2018 season. The game was at Westville for the 2019 and 2022 seasons with the 2020 and 2021 games cancelled because of Covid.

We stressed that we have to be ready because this game is a rivalry and it gives the seniors bragging rights for the rest of their lives and its a great game to be in," Goodlove said. "We enjoy playing at Georgetown with the fans on top of the field. It is usually 4-5 people deep around the sidelines and it brings a great atmosphere and our kids and their kids are pumped for the game. A lot of people come to the game and it is an rowdy atmosphere and we look forward to it."

"We have a lot to play for in front of our hometown," Grider said. "The year before last year, we canceled the game and now we get to play here at home. We have a lot to prove and the kids have a lot to fight for. We took a pounding last year, but we were young. We matured a little bit. When Westville comes to town, we are going to surprise them. Playing at home is different. They have been doing a lot of work at the school and the kids are going to perform very well and the score will work itself out."

While the game enters its 60th year, the rivalry has gone longer than that but it has mostly been friendly recently.

"It is hard to believe that the game has been around for 60 years, but this rivalry goes back before the Coal Bucket," Goodlove said. "I have heard some of the old timers say they had to suspend the game for a few years because it got too heated. Today, I am glad it is just a game and it stays on the football field."

The game starts on 7 p.m. on Friday and will be broadcast on WHRK-FM 94.9.

Iroquois West at Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin

Time — 7 p.m. Friday

Records — Iroquois West 1-2 overall, 1-2 in Vermilion Valley Conference. BHRA 2-1 overall, 2-1 in Vermilion Valley Conference.

Radio — WITY-AM 980 and WITY-FM 99.5

Summary — The Blue Devils will try to keep their home record perfect as they welcome the Raiders. BHRA has scored at least 40 points in their two home games but face a challenge as Iroquois West has won its only away game in a 42-0 win over Watseka.

Watseka at Salt Fork

Time — 7 p.m. Friday

Records — Watseka 1-2 overall, 1-2 in Vermilion Valley Conference. Salt Fork 2-1 overall, 2-1 in Vermilion Valley Conference

Summary — The Storm have fought back from an opening week loss by not allowing a point in the last two games.

Oakwood at Clifton Central

Time — 7 p.m. Friday

Records — Oakwood 2-1 overall, 2-1 in Vermilion Valley Conference. Clifton Central 1-2 overall, 1-2 in Vermilion Valley Conference.

Summary — Oakwood has picked up two big wins at home, but hits the road in the battle of the Comets. Oakwood has scored over 60 points in the last two weeks, while Clifton Central has scored 42 points all season.

Hoopeston Area/Armstrong-Potomac at Momence

Time — 7 p.m. Friday

Records — HAAP 1-2 overall, 1-2 in Vermilion Valley Conference. Momence 3-0 overall, 3-0 in Vermilion Valley Conference.

Summary — The Cornjerkers have scored only 16 points this season and they might need that and then some against the Redskins, who are returning home after beating Westville last week to take leadership in the VVC.

Flanagan at Schlarman Academy

Time — 3 p.m. Saturday

Records — Flanagan 1-2 overall, 0-2 in 8-Man Football Central 1. Schlarman 1-2 overall, 0-0 in 8-Man Football Central 1.

Summary — After a two-game road trip, the Hilltoppers will return home to start conference play against Flanagan. Both teams are on two-game losing streaks, so both teams are looking to get back on track for conference season.

Attica at Fountain Central

Time — 7 p.m. Friday (Eastern)

Records — Attica 0-4 overall, 0-2 in Wabash River Conference. Fountain Central 3-1 overall, 2-0 in Wabash River Conference.

Radio — WKZS-FM 103.1

Summary — The Mustangs have rolled since a first-week loss and hope not to hit a bump before a matchup with Seeger next week for the top of the WRC. The Red Ramblers are trying to get their first win since the shortened 2020 season.

Riverton Parke at North Vermillion

Time — 7 p.m. Friday (Eastern)

Records — Riverton Parke 1-3 overall, 0-2 in Wabash River Conference. North Vermillion 2-2 overall, 1-1 in Wabash River Conference.

Summary — The Falcons return to Gibson Field coming off a close loss. The last time that happened, North Vermillion beat Covington and are looking for more luck against the Panthers, who have scored a total of 16 points the last two games.

Seeger at Parke Heritage

Time — 7 p.m. Friday (Eastern)

Records — Seeger 3-1 overall, 2-0 in Wabash River Conference. Parke Heritage 2-2 overall, 1-1 in Wabash River Conference.

Summary — The Patriots have scored at least 35 points in each of the last three games and can continue to make a statement in the WRC against the Wolves, who have already beaten their win total from last season.

South Vermillion at Covington

Time — 7 p.m. Friday (Eastern)

Records — South Vermillion 2-0 overall, 3-1 in Wabash River Conference. Covington 2-2 overall, 0-2 in Wabash River Conference.

Summary — With the Trojans' offense stuck in gear with quarterback Wyatt Moncrief out the last two weeks, they return home to face a tough challenge in the Wildcats, who have scored at least 35 points in each of its games.