WEEK 5 FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Effingham defense looks to stay strong against Taylorville; Newton, Cumberland face tough tasks in Week 5

·6 min read

Sep. 23—Below is this week's Effingham Daily News High School Football Preview — an article detailing the matchups for Effingham, Newton, and Cumberland.



Last Year: Effingham defeated Taylorville, 27-7, at Taylorville

Last Week: Effingham defeated Mattoon, 34-0, at Mattoon

Effingham Notes: Effingham's defense shut out Mattoon, 34-0, in Week 4, reminding everyone how good the Hearts are on that side of the football. Senior Chris Hemwall had eight tackles. Senior Logan Heil had seven. Sophomore Michael Love had six. Senior Connor Simmons had four. Seniors Jack Harper, Myles Maxedon, and London Rinkel, and juniors Spencer Fox and Charlie Ring had three. Senior Josh Kelley had two, and seniors Blake Bushue and Armando Estrada and junior Zach Donaldson had one. Simmons and Harper each picked off Green Wave starter Slater Trier, too. Aside from the defense, though, the offense wasn't too shabby either. Effingham rushed for 219 yards. Senior Evan Waymoth had 82 rushing yards on 24 carries and scored twice. He now has 189 rushing yards on 47 carries this season. Senior Tanner Pontious rushed for 64 yards on 13 carries and one score while passing for 84 yards on 10-of-12 passes and one touchdown. Pontious has 116 rushing yards on 55 carries and two touchdowns this season while throwing for 451 passing yards on 41-of-67 passing and five touchdowns to two interceptions. On the outside, the notable performances last week came from junior Andrew Lotz, who caught five passes for 49 yards, and sophomore Kaden Koeberlein, who had two catches for 25 yards.

Opponent Notes: Taylorville is coming off back-to-back conference losses to Mattoon (14-17) and Mt. Zion (6-21). The only win for the Tornadoes came against St. Edward (Elgin), 24-21, in Week 2. Baron Odam is the team's signal-caller. He has 407 passing yards on 38-of-75 passes and two touchdowns to five interceptions this season. His leading receiver is Finn Niemann, who has 18 catches for 185 yards and one touchdown. Seth Hughes is also a weapon for Odam. Hughes has 10 catches for 113 yards this season. Hughes is also the team's leading rusher, carding 150 yards on 48 carries and two touchdowns this season. Odam can also use his feet to make things happen, as evidenced by his 54 yards on 38 carries and two touchdowns.


Last Year: Robinson defeated Newton, 14-0, at Newton

Last Week: Red Hill defeated Newton, 22-17, at Newton

Newton Notes: Newton is looking to bounce back after a Week 3 loss to Lawrenceville and a Week 4 loss to Red Hill. Parker Wolf had seven catches for 50 yards in Week 3 and now has 15 catches for 186 yards this season. Passing to him will be mainly Max Meinhart, who threw for 144 yards and one touchdown on 14-of-28 passes in Week 3. Meinhart has completed 25-of-56 passes for 326 yards and three scores to one interception through four weeks. Meinhart can also target Trevor Haarman (six catches for 58 yards and one touchdown) and Jack Kinkade (six catches for 36 yards). Meanwhile, on the ground, Wade Wickham still leads the team despite not playing in three weeks. He has 14 carries for 112 yards and one touchdown. To replace him, Newton will look to Dawson Deitz (28 carries for 81 yards) and Meyer Tarr (13 carries for 65 yards and one touchdown). As for the defensive side of the football, Tarr leads in that regard, collecting 22 tackles and two tackles for loss in four weeks. Gus Bierman has 20 tackles and four tackles for loss; Braxton Griffith has 16 tackles, and Riley Hart has 17 tackles, two tackles for loss, and two sacks. There were no stats available from Week 4.

Robinson Notes: Robinson has won two games in a row after two-straight losses to open the season. Robinson defeated Marshall (40-13) in Week 3 and Casey-Westfield (44-8) in Week 4. It lost to Roxana (13-16) in Week 1 and Mt. Carmel (21-62) in Week 2. A run-first team, Robinson has 661 rushing yards on the season. Senior Wesley Jackson leads the team in that regard, rushing for 238 yards on 54 carries and six touchdowns this season. Senior Nathan Wernz is second on the team with 210 rushing yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns, while Judson Pinkston is third with 103 rushing yards on 12 carries and one score. Aside from being the team's leading rusher, Jackson is also the quarterback, throwing for 589 yards on 67-of-93 passes and six touchdowns to one interception. His top targets are Pinkston (171 yards on 20 catches and two touchdowns), junior Julian Parker (122 yards on four catches and one touchdown), and sophomore Blake Green (113 yards on 11 catches and one touchdown).


Last Year: Arcola defeated Cumberland, 20-14, at Pirate Field

Last Week: Cumberland defeated Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond, 28-26, at Pirate Field

Cumberland Notes: Bryant Weber had a day for Cumberland last week against ALAH. Weber threw for 268 yards on 12-of-21 passing and three touchdowns to one interception in the Pirates' 28-27 victory. It was the second-straight win for Cumberland after two-straight losses to open the campaign. His top target was Trevin Magee, who had three catches for 149 yards, and three touchdowns. Blake McMechan added six catches for 68 yards, and Maddox McElravy had three catches for 51 yards. In the backfield, McMechan rushed for 54 yards, and one touchdown on 15 carries to lead the team. What Cumberland also did, though, was contain Kadin Feagin — to some extent. Feagin rushed for 339 yards on 42 carries and four touchdowns for ALAH.

Opponent Notes: Arcola comes into Cumberland winners of its last two games. The Purple Riders defeated Argenta-Oreana in Week 3 (47-23) and Tri-County in Week 4 (46-14). Its previous two defeats were to Tuscola in Week 1 (13-30) and Reed-Custer in Week 2 (7-66). Tanner Thomas leads the team behind-center, throwing for 481 yards on 38-of-63 passes and five touchdowns to four interceptions. His top target is Austin Kutz, who has 26 catches for 334 yards and three scores. Kutz is the only receiver on Arcola with more than 100 receiving yards this year. Meanwhile, in the backfield, Grant Wilson leads the team with 227 rushing yards on 38 carries and six touchdowns, while Thomas is second with 186 rushing yards on 27 carries and four touchdowns.

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 618-510-9231 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com.