The Sauk Valley is approaching the halfway point for regular season football.
Ashton-Franklin Center and Rock Falls, both 0-4, cannot lose a game the rest of the way in order to remain playoff-eligible.
Erie-Prophetstown avoided being a third local team in such a predicament, as Mat Garrison’s 23-yard field goal as time expired gave the Panthers, and first-year head coach Jesse Abbott, win No. 1.
Only three unbeaten teams remain: Eastland-Pearl City, Milledgeville and Sterling. Five wins makes teams playoff-eligible, but six wins will indeed clinch a playoff spot.
Here are some more numbers of note from Week 4, when local teams went 9-6:
Since 2010, the Stockton Blackhawks have lost regular season games in back-to-back seasons against the same opponent twice. The second time happened this past Friday as West Carroll beat the Blackhawks, 18-12, for the second straight time.
Polo beat Stockton in back-to-back years in 2014 (59-36) and 2015 (48-8).
No other NUIC team this decade had fewer than two occasions where they lost to a team in back-to-back years in regular-season games. Lena-Winslow is the closest: They lost to EPC each year from 2012-14, and lost in back-to-back seasons against Galena (2013-14) and Dakota (2010-11).
Special teams rarity occurred in Stillman Valley’s 55-38 win at Rock Falls.
The game featured four kickoff returns for touchdowns. Three of them came from the Cardinals, and they all came after Rockets’ touchdowns. Mason Williams had returns of 75 and 72 yards, and Justin Fisher had a 35-yarder off of a botched onside kick.
According to documented IHSA records, 21 players have returned two kickoffs for touchdowns – the most recent coming from Morrison’s Ethan Fischbach, twice in 2016 games against Kewanee and West Hancock.
Only two others in recorded IHSA history have done it 3 times: Mike Gimartin of Montini in 1984, and Sam Shepherd of Jacobs in 2003.
Rock Falls’ Nate Wiles returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to start the second half.
Byron’s 48-0 home win over Oregon marked the first Tigers’ shutout over the Hawks in 15 seasons.
Byron beat Oregon 28-0 in 2003 and 36-0 in 1997 – during that time, the Hawks have three shutouts against the Tigers.
Milledgeville has allowed just 23 points after the first 4 weeks of the season.
With a 61-0 road win at Farmer City against Blue Ridge, the Missiles put together their fourth straight game with one or no touchdown drives allowed.
The total points allowed is Milledgeville’s lowest since 1996, when the Missiles outscored opponents 158-20 during the first 4 weeks.
That’s how many teams suffered the first loss of their seasons in Week 4.
Eleven of those teams were ranked in the latest Associated Press poll, notables among them being Boylan, Dunlap and Tuscola.
Four local teams handed their Week 4 opponents their first loss. Sterling beat Kaneland 42-24, Polo beat Aquin 28-20, Fulton beat Rockridge 35-6, and Erie-Prophestown beat St. Bede.
Rock Falls has been involved in two of the last four local games where 90 or more points were scored.
The Rockets, combining with Stillman Valley to tally 93 points this past Friday, were the last local team to be involved in a game of over 100 points, coming in a 53-48 win over Mendota in Week 2 of 2016.
The two other games involved Dixon: in last year’s 48-47 Week 9 loss to North Boone, and in a 52-38 win over South Shore in the first round of the 2016 4A playoffs.