STILLMAN VALLEY, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–Stillman Valley has been, well Stillman Valley on the football field in recent years. The Cardinals have strung together four straight impressive seasons. Last season they went 8-3, and they reached the second round of the 4A playoffs before losing to a dominant Richmond-Burton team.
The Cardinals graduated 12 seniors from last year including seven offensive starters, but what they have returning is impressive. It starts with senior fullback Jory Spain. Fullback might be the most important position in the Cardinals’ flexbone-option attack. Spain plays it well.
“He’s an incredible talent,” said quarterback Kale Rauman. “He’s very, very strong, and he breaks a lot of tackles.”
Spain is especially important near the goal line with his 220-pound frame. He has a nose for the end zone, like when he scored four touchdowns against Oregon last year and three against Dixon. He’s ready to be a workhorse again if need be.
“Whatever coach needs, whatever the coach calls, I’m going to be able to do it,” said Spain. “I’ve been working in the offseason, so I’m going to be able to do that yea.”
Rauman is back for his second season as the starting quarterback.
“I really want to get my reads better on our read-option sets. It’s a very key part of our offense, and that can really help us.”
Porter Needs returns at another running back spot.
Rauman is high on Needs. “He’s really fast. He can make that big play at any moment.”
The Cardinals should also get a big boost from the return of halfback and linebacker Aidan Livingston. He was out injured last season.
On the offensive line center Andy Forcier and guard Logan McKee return. Brennin Hendricks will be one of the key players on the defensive line at end. The same goes for Jack Seacrist at defensive tackle.
This year the Cardinals are rallying around the slogan…’Get back to the lights’. “What that means is get far enough into the playoffs that we’re practicing on our game field under the lights,” said Spain.
That sounds like a plan. One the Cardinals are fully capable of pulling off.