Mat Mikesell

What to watch for in Week 9: WIVC titans clash; annual Mayor's Cup

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Oct. 18, 2018 1:35 am Updated: Oct. 18, 2018 3:35 am

Central and Carrollton produced two thrilling games last season, and we're treated to another one to close out the regular season.

The Panthers will have revenge on their minds after the Hawks ended their season in the second round of last fall's Class 1A playoffs with a 20-18 victory at Carrollton. Two weeks prior, Central beat Carrollton 34-28 at home.

What will happen in the rubber match between the Western Illinois Valley Conference division champs?

Both are on winning streaks with Carrollton having won six straight and Central three in a row. Both defenses have been stingy as Carrollton is allowing just 6.3 points per game in its streak, while Central is allowing just five in its seven victories.

Central has more offensive weapons with three players with at least 368 rushing yards, and two more have at least 100. Carrollton has just two backs with triple-digit rushing yards.

Those options will be tougher for the Hawks to stop. Recent history suggests a close matchup, and expect that again as Central avenges its bitter loss last year.

Speaking of bitter losses...

Mayor's Cup renewed

Palmyra needed kicker Noah Mencer's field goal to travel about 10 feet to the right in order to split the uprights for a victory against rival Monroe City last season.

Mencer's kick was wide left and Monroe City capped a perfect regular season with the victory and started its postseason run to a Class 1 state title.

The Mayor's Cup is renewed this week, although a little of the glamour was lost when Palmyra suffered a heartbreaking loss to Macon last week. A Palmyra victory would have made this game a winner-take-all Clarence Cannon Conference title game.

Nonetheless, it's still Palmyra vs. Monroe City, and the two sides could see each other again in the next few weeks in the district playoffs. A Monroe City victory could make it the favorite to win the district after beating Clark County last week.

Monroe City's offense has been rolling, while Palmyra has struggled to score in the last two weeks with quarterback Jacob Kroeger out with a knee injury.

Expect Monroe City to win a share of the CCC title, capture the top seed in the district and roll into the postseason.

Other notes

Scotland County goes on the road to play Louisiana and likely extends its winning streak to seven games. The seven wins would match the number the Tigers had two years ago on the way to the second round of district play.

West Hancock is in the mix for a Class 2A playoff appearance with a 5-3 record, but a sixth victory will guarantee the Titans a spot. West Hancock should have no problems at home against a 1-7 Niantic Sangamon Valley team.

Illini West is going for its first 9-0 regular season since 2010, the last time the Chargers won a state championship. All that stands in the way is Elmwood-Brimfield, which has struggled the last few weeks, but beat Illini West 60-6 last year. The Chargers get payback, and head into the playoffs undefeated.