PECATONICA, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — When you think football in the Northwest Upstate Illini Conference schools like Forreston, Lena-Winslow, and Dakota quickly come to mind. Aquin, Stockton, EPC and Milledgeville too. This year Orangeville and DuPec are also delivering quality football and they’ll meet Friday night in our Sports Connection Game of the Week.
Both teams come in with 2-1 records. Orangeville lost in week one in a hard-fought game with Aquin. Since then the Broncos have knocked off AFC and Galena.
“I think we’ve got some guys who like to play football. I think everybody feeds off of each other with that,” says Orangeville coach Jay Doyle. “We really get after it as a team and get 11 guys to the football.”
“I think we’ve still got some room to improve, but other than week one we’re getting better every week,” says Orangeville senior Carter Kleckler.
DuPec won it’s first two games against Amboy and then a double-overtime thriller against EPC. The Rivermen lost last week to Dakota, but they battled from start to finish before losing 28-20.
“Coming out of the EPC game in week two and getting a victory in overtime the way that we did our confidence was sky high. Maybe a little moreso than we needed to be,” said DuPec coach Tyler Hoffman. “I think we got a little dose of reality last week against Dakota, but I think our kids are confident enough and….they understand what we need to do moving forward.”
Durand and Pecatonica went through several leans years in football. They combined for a co-op two years ago and they still struggled winning only one game. But last year they upped that to three wins, and now with a potent passing attack led by sophomore quarterback Hunter Hoffman they have legitimate playoff hopes.
“Our confidence is up. Our team morale is up,” says DuPec linebacker Cody Richards. “We’re just ready to get in and get after it.”
“Our confidence is better than its ever been,” said DuPec lineman Blake Bury. “We’re finally winning. We can see that we’re able to win. We can play with the teams in our conference.”
Orangeville has that same confidence and while the Broncos don’t have a lot of players, the ones that they do have are very good like Carter Kleckler, Garret Rodebaugh and Chase Jordan. Each one is a threat running with the ball, and they’re also forces on defense.
“They’ve got some players man,” said Hoffman.”There’s not a lot of kids from Orangeville on the sideline, but what they have coach Doyle and his staff get a heck of a lot out of them.”
Catch highlights of the game Friday night at 10 p.m. on WTVO 17 and again this weekend on the half-hour Sports Connection. That can be seen Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on Mynetwork TV and Sunday at 9:00 a.m. on Fox 39. You can also find highlights on our website www.mystateline.com.