Muddy Night Lights to debut August 30

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman and Muddy River News Publisher Bob Gough discuss launching “Muddy Night Lights,” a two-hour prep football show that will air 10 p.m. to midnight on Friday nights during the regular season. Muddy Night Lights debuts August 30 on Muddy River Sports and Facebook Live.

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Schuckman: College World Series pool is about friendship more than it is baseball

The winner of the College World Series pool gets possession of the champion's cup for a full year. | Submitted photo

QUINCY — The first pitch came at noon from a pitcher I had never seen throw for a team I have never rooted for against a team I had no idea who was on their roster. Yet, I was all-in on the University of Kentucky baseball team. It will be the case when Arizona, UNC…

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Schuckman: Truth allows Holzgrafe to bring bright smile, effervescent personality back to life

Brian Holzgrafe, right, and his wife, Becky, take a selfie outside the U.S. Courthouse in Springfield, Ill., on the day he won his defamation lawsuit against former Quincy University student-athlete Daniel Lozier. | Submitted photo

QUINCY — The sideways glances. The whispers. The feeling of being judged. The general uneasiness of being in public and knowing your character is in question. Brian Holzgrafe felt it all. For too long. Far too often. For no fault of his own. That’s what a false accusation does to a person. It tears them…

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Schuckman: Quincy connection gives local Cardinals fans additional reason to revere Herzog

Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, who played minor league baseball for the Quincy Gems in 1952, died Monday at the age of 92.

QUINCY — Seated at a table just a few feet from the dais, Whitey Herzog looked across the room at legendary St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer Rick Hummel and pointed out the Quincy native was more than likely the smartest person in the room. The Hall of Fame manager then leaned forward and said, “But…

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Schuckman: Epic sports stretch begins this weekend and other rainy day musings

All eyes will be on University of Iowa guard Caitlin Clark this weekend as she attempts to guide the Hawkeyes to the NCAA women's basketball national championship. | Photo courtesy University of Iowa athletics

QUINCY — Random thoughts on another rainy day … • The greatest stretch on the sports calendar is nearly here. Over an eight-day span, three champions will be crowned, baseball gives us a glimpse of which teams are trending upward and the final playoff push in the NHL takes place. It begins this Sunday with…

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Schuckman: In Buster’s case, man’s best friend truly was best thing in my life

Buster, the 14-year-old cheagle who was Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman's sidekick, passed away Saturday. | Submitted photo

QUINCY — The first time I told my co-workers I was going home to cuddle up to something warm and fuzzy, they flashed that “you did not just say that” look at me and assumed I was making some sort of sarcastic reference to my wife. They soon learned who I meant every time I…

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Muddy River Sports editor receives multiple awards from APSE for coverage of QND baseball and column writing

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman's coverage of the Quincy Notre Dame baseball team's Class 2A super-sectional victory over Bloomington Central Catholic earned a national writing award from the Associated Press Sports Editors. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — For the third consecutive year, Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman earned top-10 honors in multiple writing categories in the Associated Press Sports Editors writing and photography contest. The APSE recognizes the best in sports journalism nationwide through its annual contest with more than 2,000 entries this year. The organization announced the top…

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Schuckman: Intriguing possibilities abound, but hiring athletic director to move needle and push QHS forward needs to be priority

QUINCY — Over the past 20 years, the Quincy High School athletic department has been led by four different directors who each previously had been a coach at some level within the school district. Will the next athletic director have a similar background? Wednesday night, the Quincy School Board approved Superintendent Todd Pettit’s recommendation that…

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Year in Review 2023: Schuck’s favorite photos

QUINCY — Four years ago, Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman picked up a camera for the first time and attempted to shoot his own photos to accompany his stories. At the time, he prayed for one clean image. Over time, those expectations have changed. Now, Schuckman enjoys sharing photos of area student-athletes nearly as…

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Year in Review 2023: Top 10 most viewed columns

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman's take on Jirehl Brock's involvement in the Iowa State gambling probe was the most viewed column in 2023. | Muddy River Sports file photo

QUINCY — Opinions, debate and discussion are part of the sports culture, so here is a look at Muddy River Sports’ 10 most viewed columns in 2023: 1. Schuckman: Brock’s black eye brought on by gambling probe will fade and his true character will show  “Brock likely won’t face any further charges, but he has…

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Schuckman receives IHSA Distinguished Media Service Award

From left to right, QND Athletic Director, QND Prinicpal Mark McDowell, IHSA Assistant Executive Director Sam Knox, Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman, QHS Principal Jody Stienke and QHS Athletic Director Matt McClelland. Photo by Randy Phillips

QUINCY – Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman received his Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Distinguished Media Service Award Saturday night at Quincy Notre Dame HIgh School. QND had nominated Schuckman for the award for his long-term excellence in covering high school and college sports in West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri. IHSA Assistant Executive…

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Schuckman: Gracie’s stamp of approval gives Kerkhoff leg up in starting jiu-jitsu school

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman, right, sits with UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie near the downtown square in Palmyra, Mo., to discuss jiu-jitsu and Gracie's world renowned career. | Matt Schuckman photo

PALMYRA, Mo. — Royce Gracie’s engaging personality and genuine love for his students, his family and his craft made for an entertaining 15 minutes sitting on the tailgate of my pickup discussing his mixed martial arts career. If only technology had been as accommodating. Gracie, world renowned for his jiu-jitsu career and a Ultimate Fighting…

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Schuckman: Those criticizing QU’s lopsided victory need to dig deeper to see final score didn’t come from lack of sportsmanship

Quincy University running back Teon Dollard — the Hawks' third-string back — breaks loose for a 54-yard gain in the second quarter of last Saturday's game against Madonna at QU Stadium. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The only way to truly understand how the Quincy University football coaches handled a situation none of them enjoyed would have been to be one of the few on the sidelines or in the coaches’ booth wearing a headset. Without being privy to those conversations, it’s difficult to claim the Hawks chose to…

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Schuckman: Weekend filled with football is reminder connections and people matter most

Macomb athletic director Steve Horrell and his grandsons show how football connects families, generations and people. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Waking up Monday morning, I realized there is one undeniable truth in life. The world is a better place when there is a weekend filled with football. Here’s why: Football is about connections more than it is collisions. Friday night, with my pickup truck parked next to the fence wrapped around the Airstrip…

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Schuckman: Ryan’s legacy is turning Little People’s into family outing, not just golf tourney

Nan Ryan, the executive director of the Pepsi Little People's Golf Championships since the event's inception in 1974, applauds the top finishers in the girls 12-13 division Wednesday at Westview Golf Course. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Each hug said goodbye. For now, not forever. Each “thank you” was earned. Not just now, but over the course of forever. Each story came with a smile. Nan Ryan tried to relish them now, but she’ll hold onto them forever. The 50th annual Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships wasn’t just a tournament.…

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Schuckman: Truckin’ around covering area’s best athletes and teams is life worth living

The Quincy Notre Dame baseball players celebrate during their 13-1 super-sectional victory over Bloomington Central Catholic. The Raiders' story was one of many that made this school year so enjoyable to chonricle. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Something unusual took place Saturday morning. I woke up with nothing to do. Well, that’s not entirely true. There’s a list of household chores I’ve ignored far too long, and Buster, my still rambunctious 13-year-old cheagle, was going to get a bulk of my attention. Plus, I’ve decided to replace my grill, so…

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Schuckman: Unshaken confidence allows Hammel to rejoin QU rotation with bulldogged effort

Quincy University right-hander Jay Hammel delivers a pitch during Sunday's game against Truman State at QU Stadium. Hammel went five innings, striking out five and earning his first victory of the season. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Doubt comes when confidence wanes. Everything Jay Hammel experienced in the first six weeks of the Quincy University baseball team’s season could have created doubt in himself, his ability to contribute on a nationally ranked team, and his decision to return for a final year of eligibility. Never once has he doubted any…

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Quarter century of memories: Forbes ties 3-point record, sets career scoring high in Blue Devil Gym

Zach Forbes scored a career-high 38 points and tied the Quincy High School boys basketball team's single-game 3-point record with seven made treys against Hinsdale South in January 2010. | Photo courtesy QHS Hall of Fame

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman began covering the Quincy High School boys basketball program during the 1998-99 season, and with this being his 25th season following the Blue Devils, he put together a list of his 25 most memorable games. Here is today’s installment: January 23, 2010 — Quincy 81, Hinsdale South 62 QUINCY — Mention…

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Schuckman: IHSA fails to meet its mission by forcing basketball teams to play third-place games hours after semifinals

The Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball players return to the floor following a timeout in the second half of their Class 2A third-place game against Chicago Butler College Prep on Thursday night at Illinois State University's Redbird Arena in Normal, Ill. | Matt Schuckman photo

NORMAL, Ill. — Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball coach Eric Orne listened intently as senior guard Abbey Schreacke discussed how the Raiders needed to regroup following a gut-punch loss Thursday in the Class 2A state semifinals and play the third-place game two hours later. “We’re going to have to find something deeper inside of us…

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Quarter century of memories: Fairley’s buzzer-beater results in wild ride out of Blue Devil Gym

Mason Fairley, left, played for the Quincy High School boys basketball team from 2010-13 and hit a pair of buzzer-beating game-winners as a sophomore, including one that resulted in an upset of 20-win Neuqua Valley. | Submitted photo

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman began covering the Quincy High School boys basketball program during the 1998-99 season, and with this being his 25th season following the Blue Devils, he put together a list of his 25 most memorable games. Here is today’s installment: February 19, 2011 — Quincy 68, Neuqua Valley 66 QUINCY — Mason…

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Schuckman: Conversations about golf, dogs and life create true heart-felt friendship

Alex McCulla, left, and his mom, Linda Schmidt McCulla, celebrate his graduation from Quincy Notre Dame in 2021. | Submitted photo

QUINCY — A casual question on a walk along one of the tree-lined fairways at Westview Golf Course sparked a conversation that had a continual flow no matter where it ended or when it happened to be picked up again. I can’t wait to start that conversation again someday. Six years ago, when Alex McCulla…

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Muddy River Sports editor receives pair of writing awards in APSE national contest

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman's coverage of Tanner Anderson, left, breaking the Quincy Notre Dame boys soccer program's career scoring record in a 4-3 victory over Quincy High School earned a top-10 honor in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman received national recognition in the Associated Press Sports Editors annual writing and photography contest, earning top-10 honors in two writing categories. The APSE announced the top 10 entries in all categories of the nationwide contest on its website this week. Official places will be released at a…

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Quarter century of memories: Technicals, ejections lead to Douglas getting one-night audition as head coach

Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas, standing, made his stand-in coaching debut against Peoria Central on the road in 2009. | Muddy River Sports file photo

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman began covering the Quincy High School boys basketball program during the 1998-99 season, and with this being his 25th season following the Blue Devils, he put together a list of his 25 most memorable games. Here is today’s installment: January 17, 2009 — Peoria Central 53, Quincy 46 QUINCY…

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Quarter century of memories: Blue Devils’ Anders teaches Panthers to show respect by going on two-minute scoring binge

Patrick Anders, shown here playing defense against Chicago Crane in the QHS Thanksgiving Tournament, helped the Quincy High School boys basketball team win a Western Big 6 Conference championship in 2001. | Photo courtesy QHS Hall of Fame

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman began covering the Quincy High School boys basketball program during the 1998-99 season, and with this being his 25th season following the Blue Devils, he put together a list of his 25 most memorable games. Here is today’s installment: February 23, 2001 — Quincy 69, United Township 62 QUINCY…

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Schuckman: QHS girls basketball players share opinions on gym space, upgrades and ceremonies

Quincy High School forward Taylor Fohey, left, and her teammates listen to Blue Devils coach Brad Dance during a timeout during a game against Galesburg at the QHS gym earlier this season. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Mike Dade’s passionate plea to the Quincy School board last week asking for equal treatment for the boys and girls basketball programs succeeded in one important regard. It created conversation, opinion and debate. His speech also missed the mark in one very important aspect. He wasn’t a true voice for the players themselves.…

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2022 Year in Review: Most read columns

Quincy High School offensive lineman Cole Wagy, right, kneels down to console Chatham Glenwood linebacker Brock Rogers following last week's Class 6A first-round playoff game in Chatham, Ill. | Photo courtesy Derek Parris, Channel1450.com

QUINCY — Stories of heart and soul, of community pride and compassion, of history and hope are what defined 2022. Here is a look at the most read columns at Muddy River Sports throughout the past year: 1. Schuckman: Empathy and respect create viral video moment between QHS, Glenwood football players 2. Schuckman: Homegrown talent…

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Schuckman: Blue or black doesn’t matter as long as jersey is worn with respect and pride

Sophomore guard Dominique Clay, right, dishes a pass during the Quincy High School boys basketball team's game against Collierville (Tenn.) in the quarterfinals of the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic on Thursday at Vergil Fletcher Gym in Collinsville, Ill. | Photo courtesy Tim Vizer Photography

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. — Shock. That’s what Dominique Clay’s expression screamed. He wasn’t alone in his jaw-dropping assessment. “I had the same look, too,” Camden Brown said. After the Quincy High School boys basketball team dispatched Collierville (Tenn.) 62-48 in Thursday’s quarterfinals of the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic, the Blue Devils were headed to the…

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Schuckman: Blue Devil Gym featured in IBCA’s 2023 Unique Gyms of Illinois calendar

Quincy's Blue Devil Gym is being featured in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association's 2023 Unique Gyms of Illinois calendar. | Matt Schuckman photo

The middle of December brings holiday gift ideas, All-American game goals and memories of a game played more than 30 years ago … Two venerable high school basketball gyms in Illinois and arguably the two most historic within the Western Big 6 Conference are being featured in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association’s 2023 Unique Gyms…

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Schuckman: Memories become unforgettable, and Central football team’s legacy is equally undeniable

Flanked by Isaac Genenbacher, left, and Ross Riley, right, Central lineman Cole Pracht carries the Class 1A state runner-up trophy off the field Friday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. | Photo courtesy Clark Brooks, PhotoNews Media

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — As they worked their way past the long line of Decatur St. Teresa faithful waiting to enter Memorial Stadium, a group of Camp Point Central football fans were abruptly stopped by some curious Bulldogs fans. “Did you get it done?” one asked. The disappointment echoed in the tone of the response. “It…

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Schuckman: Hawks forge unbreakable bonds by elevating volleyball program to unforgettable heights

The Quincy University women's volleyball team waves to the crowd following a four-set loss to Missouri-St. Louis in Friday night's semifinals of the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional at Pepsi Arena. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — One final wave to say thank you to an adoring, enthusiastic crowd was the Quincy University women’s volleyball team’s way to say goodbye as well. The season that changed the Hawks’ program forever was over. Yet, the bond created amongst a group of student-athletes — “incredible young women” in the words of Quincy…

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Schuckman: Emotion hits Hawkins leading up to second home debut as QU men’s basketball coach

Quincy University men's basketball coach Steve Hawkins is now 1-1 in home debuts with the Hawks after beating Hannibal-LaGrange University 88-51 Wednesday night at Pepsi Arena. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Every version of the national anthem is unique and different. Singers with big, booming voices tend to drag out high notes, especially at the top of their vocal range. Nervous singers hurry through it, praying they don’t forget a word or miss a note and fight just to finish. Steve Hawkins would have…

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Schuckman: Playoff loss doesn’t change legacy of Bombers, who made Friday night football an event

Macomb linebacker Max Ryner, left, and safety Connor Bishop, right, bring down Murphysboro running back Devon Clemons during Saturday's Class 4A playoff game in Macomb, Ill. | Matt Schuckman photo

MACOMB, Ill. — Emily Horrell better get used to this if she hasn’t already. A few days before the Macomb football team played host to Murphysboro in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs, the wife of Bombers coach Tanner Horrell happened to be at a local retail store when two retirement-age women began…

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Schuckman: By choosing to be phenomenal, Raiders ensure they are never to be forgotten

Quincy Notre Dame teammates celebrate a goal by Tanner Anderson (center) on a penalty kick during the second half of the Raiders’ 4-1 victory over Belleville Althoff in the Class 1A state championship game Saturday night at EastSide Centre in East Peoria, Ill. | Photo courtesy Tim Vizer Photography

EAST PEORIA, Ill. — Be phenomenal or be forgotten. Such an easy choice. “No one wants to live their life forgotten,” said Jake Hoyt, a senior center back on the Quincy Notre Dame boys soccer team. “Doesn’t everyone want to be phenomenal?” When Raiders coach Greg Reis posed that challenge to his team on the…

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Schuckman: Bombers finish one historic chapter, ready themselves to chase more benchmarks

The Macomb football team huddles following its 46-0 victory over Illini West on Friday night at Fuzz Berges Field in Carthage, Ill. | Matt Schuckman photo

CARTHAGE, Ill. — On a field where history grows with every blade of grass, the Illini West football team was intent on keeping history from happening. For nearly eight minutes, that seemed possible. Then in a blink, it became clear history wouldn’t be denied. Facing undefeated, state-ranked Macomb in the regular-season finale Friday night at…

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Schuckman: Blue Devils, Raiders achieve desired outcome as Quincy won, breast cancer lost during ‘Volley for a Cure’

Quincy High School's Ayanna Douglas, left, and Genesis Torres encourage each other before a serve during Monday night's match against Quincy Notre Dame at the QHS gym. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The outcome matters. It has to, otherwise the sweat equity put into practice and the commitment to be at your best wouldn’t matter so much. Still, there are nights where the final score takes on secondary importance, where winners aren’t determined solely by the numbers on a scoreboard but more by the integrity,…

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Schuckman: A boy and a ball create perfect symmetry

Hayden Hoskins, a 9-year-old ball boy for the Quincy High School boys soccer team, kicks the ball around behind the northeast goal at Flinn Stadium during a game this season. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — A boy and a ball. That’s perfect symmetry. Hayden Hoskins’ job and his joy is to run around behind the goal at the northeast end of Flinn Stadium during Quincy High School boys soccer games and act as the ball boy. In reality, the 9-year-old just wants to play the way boys should.…

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Schuckman: By keeping the faith and trusting his game, Thompson guides QND golfers back to state stage

Quincy Notre Dame senior golfer Ross Thompson posted the Raiders' lowest score in the regional and sectional, guiding the group back to the Class 2A state tournament. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Golf can humble you. Infuriate you. Exasperate you. Baffle you. And if you let it, the game can break your spirit. Ross Thompson wouldn’t allow that to happen. A freshman when he made the six-man lineup in 2019 and was part of the Quincy Notre Dame boys golf team’s second-place state finish, Thompson…

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Schuckman: Undefeated start generating enthusiasm for Macomb football program

Macomb quarterback Jack Duncan looks to pass during the second quarter of Friday night's 58-7 victory over Farmington in Macomb, Ill. | Matt Schuckman photo

MACOMB, Ill. — If rainfall and lightning strikes can’t put a damper on the enthusiasm surrounding the Macomb football program, what can? Right now, nothing. Friday night’s crowd was asked to leave the stadium complex to wait out a thunderstorm cell that passed over the area just before Friday night’s kickoff against Farmington. It delayed…

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MUDDY RIVER BREAKDOWN PODCAST: Sept. 21 2022

QUINCY — Outside of watching Scott Van Pelt host SportsCenter and the game coverage ESPN provides, Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman and Don O’Brien discuss how they have veered away from watching the sports network and what other television program pique their interest on this week’s Muddy River Breakdown.

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Schuckman: JWCC showcases family-based culture for entire community to see

A pair of John Wood Community College cheerleaders try to entice passerbys to get their car washed as part of the Blazer Bash, which was held Saturday on the JWCC campus. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Saturday felt like a warm, welcoming hug. John Wood Community College opened its arms to the community, and Quincy embraced it. “Yeah, this is neat,” Trail Blazers athletic director Brad Hoyt said as he surveyed the meshing of JWCC athletes and personnel with fans and community members across a large swath of the…

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Schuckman: Brown County, Central show how electric, energetic healthy rivalries can be

Central wingback Isaac Genenbacher, center, gets up after catching a touchdown pass in front of Brown County's Angel Duarte during the second quarter of the Panthers' 30-0 victory Friday night in Mount Sterling, Ill. | Matt Schuckman photo

MOUNT STERLING, Ill. — The Nest deserved a little TLC. The Brown County football team hadn’t played at home since its Week 1 victory over Calhoun when it was one of the first teams in the state to take the field, opening on a Thursday night. In the three weeks since, the Hornets’ all-natural grass…

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Schuckman: Dennis Guthrie appreciated being a golf dad, but his real gift came as a fun-loving family man

This custom metal print of a picture taken at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 2012 featuring Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman and professional golfer Luke Guthrie sits on Schuckman's desk, a gift from the late Dennis Guthrie. | Muddy River Sports photo

QUINCY — I laughed. Dennis Guthrie didn’t. My mind immediately began thinking, “What’s wrong?” Seated together on a bench near the 18th green at Quincy Country Club as the Quincy High School and Quincy Notre Dame boys golf teams neared the end of their Ryder Cup match early in the 2007 season, Guthrie and I…

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Schuckman: Crowd, atmosphere elevate QHS-QND rivalry game to community celebration

The Quincy Notre Dame and Quincy High School football teams went head-to-head in a game that brought the community together for a celebration of football. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — A game of two-hand touch played by a gaggle of kids wearing their Junior Raiders football jerseys unfolded beneath the large oak and blaze maple trees casting shade across the uneven grassy space near the tennis courts in South Park. Kickoff for the season-opening showdown between Quincy High School and Quincy Notre Dame…

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Muddy River Breakdown with Schuck and DOB: Episode 1

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman, left, and Don O'Brien will bring you the "Muddy River Breakdown with Schuck and DOB" each week to talk about high school sports and beyond. | Muddy River Sports photo

QUINCY — Reunited and it feels so good. Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman and the newest addition to the Muddy River Sports team, Don O’Brien, spent 13 years working side-by-side in the sports department of the Quincy Herald-Whig and sharing the studio for shows such as “The Sports Writers Journal” and “WGEM SportsCenter.” A…

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Brimming with confidence, Illinois squad proves it belongs on softball’s biggest stage

The Illinois District 17 softball team celebrates its 5-4 victory over Canada in Wednesday's game during the pool play stage of the Senior League Softball World Series in Roxana, Del. | Photo courtesy ESPN

ROXANA, Del. — A glimmer of hope is all that was needed. When the Illinois District 17 softball team headed to the Central Regional in Michigan, advancing to the Senior League Softball World Series was still a pipedream, even if a spot in the 10-team field was only four victories away. “I think there were…

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Schuckman: Summer job allows Liberty’s Klingele to give new life to floor in gym he’s called home

From left to right, the Area Distributors crew of Hayden Spilker, Dale Garriga and Breiton Klingele work on rewaxing the Liberty High School gym floor. | Matt Schuckman photo

LIBERTY, Ill. — The signs taped to the front doors of Liberty High School saying “Gym Closed” were a clear indication the administration didn’t want anyone coming around. Even if such warnings were ignored, no one was getting in the gym anyhow. Chains and padlocks on the doors ensured that. There was work to be…

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Schuckman: Memories of wiffle ball battles help keep game prevalent for generations

A wiffle ball and bat set can be purchased for $15 or less at most retail stores. | Submitted photo

QUINCY — Has wiffle ball become the forgotten game? Quiet fields and empty side streets suggest so. Temperatures pushed toward 90 degrees Wednesday afternoon when three kids and two adults cast their lines into the ponds near R.J. Peters Drive running through South Park. Although they hadn’t caught any fish, they had been there for…

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Schuckman: Tale of Buster and his backyard nemesis is reminder to stay forever young

A rabbit sits in Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman's backyard, waiting to foil Buster, the 12-year-old cheagle. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The porch door casually swung open, the way it does five or six times per day or as many times as Buster gets the inkling to go outside. Only this time, our 12-year-old cheagle didn’t follow the swinging of the door by bounding down the three steps leading to the sidewalk. He froze.…

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Schuckman: Rolling down county roads proves yet again to be good source of inspiration

A whitetail edges its way out of the woods in eastern Adams County on Thursday. Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Throughout the majority of my sports writing career, when my creativity requires recharging or it’s time to unwind my mind, I jump in my truck and spend some time exploring the countryside on county roads. Thursday, a walk through the woods was needed, so to speak. And as the sun headed for the…

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Schuckman: Support of Brown County community helps Hornets see journey and legacy matter more than final outcome

The Brown County baseball team poses for pictures with its Class 1A second-place state trophy Saturday at Dozer Park in Peoria, Ill. Matt Schuckman photo

PEORIA, Ill. — Disappointment lingered, but only for so long. By the time the Brown County baseball players cleaned up their dugout and made their way to the grassy berm in the right-field corner, the green-clad wave of Hornets fans who had invaded Dozer Park on Saturday were ready to fete their conquering heroes. The…

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Schuckman: QND baseball fans indulge in ‘Bacon’ to keep winning ways alive

Bacon, the 4-inch crocheted, stuffed pig, rests on the wall behind home plate during the Quincy Notre Dame baseball team's Class 2A sectional semifinal against Shelbyville on Wednesday in Pleasant Plains, Ill. Matt Schuckman photo

PLEASANT PLAINS, Ill. — Everybody likes bacon, right? That’s undoubtedly true of the Quincy Notre Dame baseball players’ parents, grandparents and fans. But if you’re thinking it’s the sizzle-in-the-frying-pan kind of pork product they are so enamored with, you’d be sorely mistaken. In this case, “Bacon” is their good luck charm, a 4-inch crocheted, stuffed…

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Schuckman: Success on pool table helps stoke Bockenfeld’s ‘drive to go further and play higher in this sport’

Quincy's Kelsey Bockenfeld poses with her American Cue Sports Illinois State Association women's championship plaque. Photo courtesy Rack Daddy's

QUINCY — The hardware Kelsey Bockenfeld has collected in the past five weeks has made her trifecta of titles complete. State champion. National champion. World champion. That’s quite a resume. The Quincy native won an American Motocross Association ATV national championship during her days racing quads, but has since found a passion and a drive…

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Schuckman: Crim’s induction into IBCA Hall of Fame is fitting honor for inspiring writer, friend

Muddy River Sports senior columnist Don Crim, left, receives his Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame plaque during Saturday night's banquet in Normal, Ill. Photo courtesy Peggy Crim

Intimidating. It seems funny to say it, but that is the most apt description for how I viewed Don Crim the first time I walked into the Quincy Herald-Whig newsroom nearly 33 years ago. The sports editor’s desk, complete with stain rings from his coffee cup and an overflowing ashtray of cigarette butts, served as…

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Schuckman: Homegrown talent displaying hometown pride is what small-school basketball should be about

A Liberty cheerleader is engaged in a cheer during Saturday's Class 1A state championship game against Yorkville Christian at State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill. Photo courtesy Clark Brooks, PhotoNews Media

LIBERTY, Ill. — When the two-lane state highway without a shoulder snakes past the farms and fields and reaches the eastern border of Liberty, a sign looms large on the right side of the road. “Give me Liberty” it reads, and it lists the population of this Adams County village as 600. There may be…

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Schuckman: Eagles stick together to make state championship journey memorable and emotional

Liberty coach Greg Altmix reacts to a play during Thursday’s Class 1A state semifinal against Scales Mound at State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill. Photo courtesy Clark Brooks, PhotoNews Media

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Part of the wisdom Liberty boys basketball coach Greg Altmix has tried to impart on his players from his more than two decades on the bench is to enjoy the journey, not just the end result. So sitting in the lobby of the team hotel Thursday afternoon, while taking time to catch…

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Schuckman: Blue Devils’ Douglas pours every beat of his heart into love for his players

Quincy High School coach Andy Douglas goes through his final pregame preparations before the Blue Devils played Bolingbrook on Monday night in the Class 4A Normal Super-Sectional at Redbird Arena. Matt Schuckman photo

NORMAL, Ill. — Restless nights tend to accompany the calendar flip, when January rolls into February and high school basketball coaches worry about how to prepare for and sustain postseason success. When the nights grow shorter and sleep is a struggle in the middle of October rather than the middle of the season, something other…

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Schuckman: Finding coach to ’embrace this basketball crazy community’ shouldn’t be difficult for QU administration

John Wood Community College men's basketball coach Brad Hoyt's success on the national level and ability to recruit regional talent could be the mix Quincy University is looking for in its next coach. Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Thirty-one minutes is all it took. The news of Ryan Hellenthal’s dismissal as the Quincy University men’s basketball coach broke at 10 a.m. Friday, and 31 minutes after that news hit social media, the first mention of a possible successor was posted. A plethora of posts followed. Fans in this basketball savvy community…

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Schuckman: Roar after Wells’ shot is reminder he is small part of Blue Devil tradition now and forever

Quincy High School senior forward Wil Wells, right, puts up a shot during the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's game against Rock Island Alleman at Blue Devil Gym. Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The clamor began as soon as Wil Wells stood up and made his way to the scorer’s table to check in to Tuesday night’s game against Rock Island Alleman. He knew it wouldn’t stop until he scored. “It’s a little bit of pressure, I have to admit,” Wells said. A senior forward on…

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Schuckman: It’s gotta be the shoes as Quincy Shootout participants put their footware on display

A vast majority of the players participating in the Quincy Shootout this weekend at Blue Devil Gym were wearing unique footwear. Matt Schuckman photo

Stylish, bold, eye-catching and colorful. And it’s all about sole. During the fourth Quincy Shootout, which took place Friday and Saturday at Blue Devil Gym and Friday night at the Pit, the shoe game of some of the top prep basketball players in the state and in the nation was on display. A handful of…

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Schuckman: QU coach drums up support, supplies to help her hometown remain Dresden Strong following tornado

Quincy University women's basketball coach Kaci Bailey is heading to her hometown of Dresden, Tenn., with a van full of supplies and assistance after tornadoes devastated the community. Matt Schuckman photo

The text came close to midnight as Ric Bailey needed to know his daughter, Quincy University women’s basketball coach Kaci Bailey, hadn’t been in the path of the tornadoes that skirted the St. Louis area and created a path of destruction moving past Edwardsville, Ill. “He was making sure I’m OK,” Bailey said. At the…

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