By Kyle Daubs

Blaine Powers knows it’s time for him and Stewart Druin to step up even more.

As an upperclassman, he wants to build on what last year’s seniors help create. The Mattoon High boys golf team placed third in the IHSA Sectional and would have qualified for state as a team. Powers finished third on the team, carding 86 to edge teammate Meade Johnson, who had won the Regional medalist the week before.

With Powers and Apollo Conference medalist Stewart Druin back as juniors, Powers like the team’s chances of making it to state for real this time. 

“It’s going to be a fun season with Stu and I being upperclassmen,” said Powers. “We are going to have to lead the team and lead the underdogs of freshman and sophomores. We can’t look at the upperclassmen anymore. Now, we are going to have to do most of the work.” 

Powers and Druin are the top returnees from a team that also won the Apollo Conference and the Regional Championship. Moving forward, Powers is hopeful that the team can repeat at champions in the Regional. 

“Winning the Regional should be a top goal and I believe we should have a good chance, “ said Powers. “We have a couple of incoming freshmen who are going to be solid. We have some sophomores that are going to help us out. I think we have a good chance of winning another one.”

At the Apollo, Powers placed 13th overall, but that was because there was a three-person tie for 10th place overall. All three scored 85, while Powers just missed the cut with a score of 86. 

“I hope to do pretty well in tournaments like the big ones in conference, Regionals, Sectionals, and, hopefully, state,” said Powers. “Getting All-Conference is one of the big goals. As a team, I think we should look to compete for top spots in most of our tournaments.”

Due to the traditional spring season turning into a summer season, Powers has had little time to hit the links. Powers also played basketball and baseball, whose season ended the second week of June. 

With August approaching, Powers will be able to enter the next season with a bit of normalcy. Part of that normal feeling will be golf without masks and the anticipated return of the Mattoon Invitational. 

“It will be quite a lot more fun this year without COVID protocols and the masks,” said Powers. “Having a state tournament will be nice. That (Mattoon Invitational) is the coaches’ deal putting that together. It’s a huge tournament and I remember playing in it my freshman year. It brings some great competition with people from teams all over who come to play in it. I hope it comes back.”