Charleston and Taylorville are each seeking their first Apollo Conference win. Taylorville is holding on for hope to stay in the playoff picture, while the Trojans are focusing on growth and finishing strong.
Here is the preview for tonight’s game.
TEAM RECORDS: Charleston (0-5, 0-3) @ Taylorville (1-4, 0-3)
PAST RESULTS: The Trojans have lost to Mahomet-Seymour 55-14, Collinsville 35-14, Effingham 31-14, Lincoln 20-0, and Herscher 41-30. Taylorville opened the season with a 40-0 loss to Mount Vernon and then earned its first win of the season over Elgin St. Edwards, 24-21. The Tornadoes have dropped their last three games. That includes a 17-14 loss to Mattoon, a 21-6 loss to Mount Zion, and last week’s 48-13 loss to Effingham.
TICKETS: Tickets will be sold at the entrance of Taylorville’s football field.
SCHOOL SIZE: Charleston (796), Taylorville (756)
KICKOFF: 7:00 p.m.
OPPONENT’S HISTORY: Odam, a former Taylorville quarterback has been the head coach at his alma mater for 13 years, plus an additional eight as an assistant. Odam has coached the Tornadoes to a 74-53 record in 13 years, including seven straight playoff appearances (one in Class 5A) and three quarterfinal (2014, 2015, and 2018) appearances, and seven .500 or better seasons.
TAYLORVILLE’S RUNNING GAME: Seth Hughes is the only player on the team with more than 100 yards rushing with 60 carries for 222 yards. The team has 370 total rushing yards and no rushing touchdowns.
TAYLORVILLE’S PASSING GAME: Sophomore Baron Thomas-Odam has thrown for 535 yards on 46 of 96 passing for a completion percentage of 47.9%. Odam also has three passing touchdowns, six interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 49.6. Sophomore Finn Niemann is the team’s top receiver with 22 receptions for 276 yards. Hughes is second on the team with 12 receptions for 132 receiving yards.
“We knew that trying to get our youth quality reps to get better was going to be a major issue for us to overcome,” said Odam. “We keep seeing plays and players taking small steps, but just can’t quite seem to get them all playing well at the same time. We will keep banging away at it.”
MISCELLANEOUS: The weather is projected to be 59 degrees at kickoff with a humidity of 61% and an 0% chance of rain.
CHARLESTON’S RUNNING GAME: Jeremiah Hayes leads the team with 178 yards rushing on 37 carries and one touchdown. Quarterback Brett Spour has 129 yards on 37 rushes with two touchdowns.
CHARLESTON’S PASSING GAME: Spour has completed 54 of 100 passes for 569 yards and five touchdowns and four interceptions. Luke Bonnstetter has pulled in 13 receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Luke Nelson has 12 receptions for 137 yards receiving.
WHAT TAYLORVILLE SAID: “For this game, getting started with some more urgency is very important for us,” said Odam. “Charleston has had some really good players come through over the last two years and played very well against us. We just need to get some early confidence and get us moving in the right direction. We just need to find the right combination of the game plan, player execution, and confidence so our kids can start to feel good about their team and effort. I can take care of the game plan stuff, now we just need the kids to really believe in themselves and trust it.”
WHAT CHARLESTON SAID: “We talked about Mahomet-Seymour. They are the No. 4 team in the state and we were not ready to even think about beating them. We didn’t play well in the first quarter. Once we got past that, we played much better. Still not enough to beat a team that is No. 4 in the state. We showed them the tape and talked about the corrections that needed to be made. Now, it’s onto Taylorville. They have a solid running back who is elusive. Coach Odam has been there awhile and will have them ready to go.”