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Football

Football Notebook: Cox keeps blazing new paths at Dixon; Thunder proud of turnaround

Like a broken record

Dixon's Arthur Cox takes a pass and looks upfield Saturday.
Dixon's Arthur Cox takes a pass and looks upfield Saturday.

With 89 rushing yards against Genoa-Kingston on Saturday afternoon, Arthur Cox became the first player in Dixon history to record back-to-back 2,000-yard rushing seasons, and is now 52 yards away from breaking his own school record for single-season rushing yards (2,063) that he set last season.

He also climbed to 20th on the state’s all-time rushing list (with 4,846), according to the records page on the IHSA website. His 73 touchdowns have him tied for 17th. If the Dukes play as many as three more games, he could climb several spots higher on each list.

Cox has averaged 8.3 yards per carry on his 582 career rushes, and he scores a touchdown about every eight carries.

Glass half-full: In the weeks after a playoff team’s exit, coaches and players will reflect on the ups and downs, the successes and failures throughout the season.

For Milledgeville, 2017 was another step forward for a program that has now made the playoffs in two straight seasons, bowing out in the second round to Lena-Winslow this year after losing in the first round in 2016.

“I was really happy with our offseason coming off the loss to Ottawa Marquette and getting a taste of it last year,” Milledgeville head coach Jason Wroble said. “I know these guys love football, so hopefully they’re motivated after seeing what a state-caliber football team is like and how we can get there. It doesn’t just happen in August, it has to happen over the entire offseason.”

“I didn’t even see this year being this far,” QB Jack Munz said. “All the people coming back know what we have to do to become the team we want to be.”

The Missiles were thin on numbers entering the season, but stayed healthy for the most part. Even better, the program graduates just two seniors in Kyle Kendall and Dylan Janssen.

Kendall was a key cog in both the offensive and defensive lines, finishing with three tackles for loss against the Panthers. Janssen didn’t see major playing time until this season, but filled in admirably as a defensive end and tight end.

Milledgeville has 12 juniors returning, including Munz, running backs Nate Rahn, Carson Boyer and Jacob Hartje, and four starting offensive linemen. With added playoff experience, the Missiles hope to take another step forward next season.

“All of next year depends on the offseason. Nothing is a given,” Rahn said. “I hope we have a good turnout in the weight room getting bigger and stronger going forward.”

Out on a high note: Twin brothers Kody and Kaleb Plattenberger walked off Massey Field for the last time on Saturday after their West Carroll Thunder fell 24-6 to Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley.

The two were disappointed, but kept their heads up.

“Our first year here, we went 1-8,” Kaleb said. “This program has come a long ways since then, and this year, we set the program win record [7]. It’s our hope that the young kids build off this and keep improving on that record.”

The Thunder’s previous record for wins was six, set in 2007. GCMS left Massey Field also impressed with the Thunder.

“That’s the best team we’ve played, period,” running back Mitch McNutt said. “They played hard the whole game. They were physical, and they were fast. I mean, we couldn’t really run anything to the outside because we couldn’t get around them.”

Against all odds: Forreston’s 30-6 road win against Fulton produced a handful of statistical oddities.

The Steamers went three-and-out on six of seven first-half possessions and punted six times. In the second half, Fulton had no three-and-outs and did not punt.

Fulton had one run of more than 10 yards – a 16-yarder from Austin Schroeder. Forreston had 10 runs of at least 10 yards, the longest of which was a 26-yarder from Gavin Fuchs.

The Cardinals had 320 yards of offense, all on the ground, and they spread the wealth. Five players had between nine and 13 carries, and they gained between 51 and 72 yards.

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