The top 8 takeaways from Week 2 of high school football in Springfield

Bill Welt
State Journal-Register

Week 2 of the Illinois High School Association season is here, and there was plenty of action across the Springfield area.

Here are some key takeaways from Friday's games.

SHG's defense steps up again

Southeast didn't pick up a first down until the second quarter and trailed 38-0 at halftime with minus-5 offensive yards in a 59-7 Central State Eight Conference loss at Sacred Heart-Griffin. SHG's defense has only allowed two touchdowns heading into next Friday's Leonard Bowl XII against Rochester at Rocket Booster Stadium.

Scoreboard:Week 2 scores from around the Springfield area

Auburn coach picks up first win 

Ryan Gardner collected his first win as the head coach at Auburn. The Trojans shut out New Berlin 21-0 at home after starting the season with a 58-10 loss at No. 2-ranked Maroa-Forsyth. Jackson Kern tied a school record with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown. That tied Tim Howard’s school record from 1980 against Riverton. The Pretzels dropped to 0-2 and missed starting quarterback Joey Meiseman for the second straight game. 

More:The top performances from Week 2 Illinois high school football in the Springfield area

Don’t mess with Colin Ripperda 

Williamsville junior defensive back Colin Ripperda collected an interception at the start of the second quarter and recovered a muffed kickoff return late in the third quarter in addition to a sack in the first half as the Bullets defense preserved a 6-0 halftime lead and withstood Athens' last drive in a 28-21 Sangamo Conference victory. Ripperda led the defense as a sophomore with a team-high 67 tackles, including seven tackles for loss, and returns after he was named to the all-Sangamo Conference second team. 

Ja'Kyan Shanklin is one of the area’s top backs 

Athens' Ja'Kyan Shanklin (10) celebrates a touchdown against North Mac in the first half at Athens High School in Springfield, Ill., Friday, April 16, 2021. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

Ja’Kyan Shanklin is a shifty back. The Athens senior tailback ran for 186 yards on 23 carries in the 28-21 loss to Williamsville. He unleashed an 82-yard run to set up the Warriors' first touchdown to start the third quarter. He also ran for 128 yards on 20 carries in a Week 1 win over New Berlin. 

Lincoln’s playoff drought may finally end 

Lincoln tailback Kion Carson finished with 132 yards on 15 carries in a 14-6 Apollo Conference victory against Charleston. Isaac Decker ran for 89 yards on 11 attempts and the Railsplitters are off to a 2-0 start in what is likely their final season in the Apollo. Lincoln hasn’t reached the playoffs since 1984. 

Forfeit or not to forfeit, that is the question 

This is becoming quite the dilemma this football season. Some schools such as Williamsville and Rochester are willing to schedule anyone in order to play. Others not so much. Both Williamsville and Rochester have been declined by potential replacements. There could be logistical issues, but these teams may prefer a forfeit because they don’t want to risk a loss. A loss could cause a team to miss the playoffs or get bumped down to a lower seeding in the postseason. They also might not want to risk an injury to a bigger opponent. Another question is, how will these forfeits affect the conference standings? A team could theoretically reach the playoffs on forfeits alone. What a mess. 

Three unbeaten in South Central 

About conference standings. Vandalia junior quarterback Matthew Hagy spurred his team to a key 49-41 South Central Conference victory over Carlinville after falling to Pana 46-26. Hagy threw three touchdown passes, including the 24-yard game-winner to Carson Ruot, and ran in the other four. The Cavaliers were coming off a 27-6 nonconference win at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley. That leaves three unbeaten SCC teams: Pana, Piasa Southwestern and Greenville. Pana, which plays Hillsboro on Saturday, and Piasa shared the conference title with Carlinville last spring, and the Comets thrashed Gillespie 35-2. 

More:Like his father and uncles before him, Jake Seman was born to play QB for Williamsville

Moweaqua Central A&M belongs at No. 1 in 1A 

The Raiders, tied at No. 1 with Lena-Winslow, throttled Nokomis 45-14 to improve to 2-0. NHS is a quality opponent, but Central A&M nevertheless raced to a 31-6 halftime lead. The Raiders are certainly poised for another deep postseason run after going 1A state runner-up in 2019. 

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