All that talk about the last place must suddenly be bulletin board material because Taylorville is starting hot this young football season. The team is just one year removed from a one-win season but has already doubled their wins from last year. 

“Being in school is the difference,” said Taylorville head coach Jeb Odam. “Kids are creatures of habit and being able to get back to old routines at school and at practices has been huge.  We just hope it continues.”

Mattoon is searching for their first win of the season and hopes that they can get it under the lights at O’Brien Stadium. Here’s a preview of the upcoming Apollo Conference matchup. 

Team Records (Last Year): Taylorville (2-0, 0-0), Mattoon (0-2, 0-1)

Past Results: Taylorville defeated Mt. Vernon 13-0 to open the season and then dropped St. Edward (Elgin) 26-14 last week. Mattoon is coming off a 31-7 loss to Mount Zion. The Green Wave dropped their opening week matchup with Troy Triad 26-13. Last year, Mattoon was victorious with a 19-14 win. 

Tickets: Tickets will be sold at the gate at O’Brien Stadium. 

School Size: Taylorville (757), Mattoon (929)

Kickoff: 7:00 p.m

Opponent’s History: Head coach Jeb Odam enters his 13th season as head coach of the Tornados with a 74-46 overall record and seven playoff appearances. In his tenure, Taylorville owns three seasons of double-digit wins, including 11-win seasons in 2015 and 2018. 

Taylorville Running Game: Stats were unavailable. “We feel our running game has been a strength,” said Taylorville coach Jeb Odam. “It starts with the QB and we can rotate 3-4 guys in there with various skill sets.  We are getting better in the passing game and will need to be able to do both to win Apollo games.”

Taylorville Passing Game: Stats were unavailable.  All-Apollo Second-Team wide receiver Ethan Mileham has graduated. “We have several young guys who are flashing in games and practices and they will continue to be utilized in a variety of ways,” said Odam. “Luke Durbin is our QB on the field for sure.”

Taylorville Defense: No stats were available. All-Apollo Second-Team defensive lineman Mason Bates has graduated. 

Miscellaneous: The weather predicted for Friday’s game is 77 degrees at kickoff with a humidity of 48% with zero chance of rain. 

Mattoon Passing Game: Last week, Jackson Spurgeon completed 11-of-18 passes for 116 yards with two interceptions. Matthew Gordon caught three passes for 53 yards, while Slater Trier caught four passes for 27 yards. 

Mattoon Running Game: Taeriek Grace led Mattoon with 35 yards on six carries, while Spurgeon added 16 yards on 12 carries and the lone touchdown run. As a team, the Green Wave rushed 22 times for 65 yards. 

Mattoon Defense: Mount Zion outgained Mattoon 318-181 with 197 of the yards coming on the ground. 

What Taylorville Said: “One does not have to think they are sneaky good, Mattoon is good,” said Odam. “They are fundamentally sound, great schemes, and always do a very good job of exploiting a team’s weakness.  As always, Mattoon will give us fits and we have to be ready for the challenge.”

What Mattoon Said: Head coach Troy Johnson was unavailable for comment.