Schuckman among IHSA Distinguished Media Service Award winners

Matt Schuckman

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is proud to announce its ninth class of recipients of the IHSA Distinguished Media Service Award. The 2023-24 honorees include a Chicago TV legend, a Northern Illinois radio mainstay, and a pair of longstanding writers who have made their respective marks on opposite sides of the state. Matt Schuckman, sports…

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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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Schuck on a Truck: KHQA sports director Chris Duerr discusses start of fall sports

QUINCY — Chris Duerr’s summer sabbatical is over, and it’s time for fall sports. The Hall of Fame KHQA Sports Director took advantage of a quiet July to visit his native Sacramento, Calif., spend quality time with his family and get upstaged by his fire chief brother, Mark. Now that August has arrived and fall…

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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: Taking trip down memory lane leads to list of 25 memorable QHS basketball games spanning 25 years on the beat

QUINCY — It started exactly where you would expect. Blue Devil Gym. A quarter of a century ago, I covered my first Quincy High School boys basketball game as the beat writer for the Quincy Herald-Whig — a 68-63 victory over Galesburg featuring J.D. Summers with 20 points and the Blue Devils going 23 of…

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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,

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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Muddy River Breakdown: Schuck and DOB discuss changing of seasons as basketball gets underway

QUINCY — Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman and his trusty podcast sidekick Don O’Brien tackle the start of prep boys basketball practices in Illinois, the first week for college hoops games and the shift from fall sports to winter sports in this week’s episode of the Muddy River Breakdown.

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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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Schuck on a Truck: Talking hunting season, fall weather and family memories with Schuck’s dad

QUINCY — Growing up, the best part of the calendar rolling into October meant hunting season was upon us and I had the opportunity to spend more time with my dad. No matter what we did outdoors, I was right by his side. That hasn’t changed in adulthood. With the archery deer season in full…

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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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Muddy River Breakdown: Tyler Tomlinson joins Schuck and DOB to talk professional soccer

QUINCY — The big reveal takes place on the Muddy River Breakdown with Schuck Daddy and DOB. With Don O’Brien having embraced English Premier League fandom, it became time for Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman to pledge his loyalty to an EPL team. So he turned to Culver-Stockton College women’s soccer coach Tyler Tomlinson…

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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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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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Muddy River Breakdown: Schuck and DOB discuss ESPN, TV options and football

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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Muddy River Breakdown: Schuck and DOB talk WB6 road trips, media scrums and going golfing

QUINCY — Muddy River Sports correspondent Don O’Brien made the road trip to Moline last Friday to cover the Quincy High School football team and realized Western Big 6 Conference gridiron road games mean late-night arrivals back home. He and Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman talk WB6 road trips, media scrums, basketball shootouts and…

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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: Opening Day and baseball should make us all feel like kids again

Blessed and spoiled. There is no more apropos description for the fall of 1982. By then, my passion for baseball and complete love for the game was complete. I was blessed to watch my favorite team and my favorite player fight their way to the National League pennant, and I was spoiled to listen to…

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Schuckman: Time has come for WB6, Alleman to go separate ways

The Rock Island Alleman athletic department may finally have hit rock bottom, and it’s time for the Western Big 6 Conference to address it. Last week, the Pioneers informed the remainder of the WB6 they would not be fielding a girls softball team this spring. Dwindling numbers saw less than nine players attend the first…

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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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Muddy River Sports receives three awards in APSE annual national writing contest

QUINCY — Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman received two writing awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national contest and Muddy River Sports won an additional award for its digital platform. Schuckman finished in the top 10 in the long feature and breaking news categories in Division D. In the long feature category, Schuckman…

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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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‘Christmas in Quincy’: A Christmas carol for basketball fans throughout this area

Often my wife, Michelle, laughs at my quirkiness. Other times she just rolls her eyes. It all depends on how off-color or out-of-bounds I get. When we’re taking a road trip together — our goal each summer or fall is to visit a different national park — the radio is constantly tuned to music. My…

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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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What the Schuck? Podcast: QHS, QND coaches talk hoops ahead of Saturday’s crosstown showdown

QUINCY — For the seventh straight season, the Quincy High School and Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball teams will square off Saturday night in what has become a traditional pre-Christmas filled with spirit and a festive atmosphere befitting the holidays. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip at the Pit and will be…

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Schuckman: ’50 Teams After 50 Years’ will celebrate 50th anniversary of start of two-class system for Illinois basketball

For the better part of six decades, small-school boys basketball teams from West Central Illinois had their state tournament aspirations hit an inevitable roadblock. They simply couldn’t circumvent the city schools. Whether that foe came from Quincy, Galesburg or Springfield, there was a program with a larger enrollment, more resources and a history of postseason…

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Schuckman: Epic four-overtime game leaves Eagles, Suns exhausted but buoyed by their resiliency and moxie

AUGUSTA, Ill. — Ramsey Fry woke up Wednesday morning searching for energy. “Oh, my goodness, my whole body was exhausted,” he said. “I could barely move.” Cannen Wolf felt the same way as he left the gym the night before. “I’ve never been that exhausted after a game or while I was in a game,”…

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2020 Quincy Blue Devil Sports Hall of Fame Inductee: Matt Schuckman, Friend of Sports

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The 2020 and 2021 classes are being inducted into the Quincy Blue Devil Sports Hall of Fame together this year. Schuckman will be inducted on Saturday, Nov. 27 before QHS’s boys basketball game.) The author of “Stand Up and Cheer: A Century of Blue Devils Basketball” and a reporter who has covered the…

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Schuckman: Panthers turning long road trip into experience to savor

MONROE CITY, Mo. — David Kirby realizes when most people start talking about the best places to eat on a trip to the bootheel of Missouri the conversation will turn to the throwed rolls at Lambert’s in Sikeston. With the Monroe City football team headed to that neck of the woods for Saturday’s Class 1…

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Schuckman: Observations as basketball returns to November in Gem City

Monday, life seemed renewed. At 5:30 a.m., inside a fully lit Blue Devil Gym, the first high school boys basketball practice of the 2021-22 season at Quincy High School took place. It had been two years since the Blue Devils took the floor on a November morning to kickstart a campaign. For a moment, everything…

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Schuckman: Tomlinson’s coaching milestone is reflection of program he’s built

The Culver-Stockton College women's soccer team celebrated Wildcats coach Tyler Tomlinson's 100th career victory Saturday after beating MidAmerica Nazarene 3-2 in Olathe, Kan. Submitted photo

For a moment Saturday, Culver-Stockton College women’s soccer coach Tyler Tomlinson didn’t know what was happening. After the playing of the national anthem prior to the Wildcats’ game against MidAmerica Nazarene in Olathe, Kan., the Wildcats’ starting 11 unexpectedly ran off the field. Situated near a far corner of the facility was C-SC junior midfielder…

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What the Schuck? – Two Big Knuckleheads

Matt Schuckman, editor of Muddy River Sports, and David Adam, editor of Muddy River News, get together to talk about the final week of the high school football regular season, the upcoming playoffs, Quincy Notre Dame’s chances in the state soccer playoffs and the best place to get a bite to eat in Alton.

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Schuck on a Truck Zoom edition: Liberty running back Wentric Williams III

Wentric Williams III recently joined Muddy River Sports editor Matt Schuckman on a Zoom call to discuss football, wrestling, the impact and legacy of his father. Photo courtesy Mathew Kirby

The name is the same. And if you watch Wentric Williams III run with the football tucked tightly in his right arm, you’ll see glimpses of his father. And then there’s that million-watt smile. It’s part of what made Wentric Williams II electric. His namesake shares that electricity. But be clear about one thing —…

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What the Schuck with David Adam

Matt Schuckman, editor of Muddy River Sports, and David Adam, editor of Muddy River News, talk about the football playoff hopes of QHS and QND, a problem at the IHSA state golf tournament that needs to be fixed and the upcoming eighth week of the high school football season — but they are interrupted with…

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Schuckman: IHSA needs to re-examine equitable treatment of golfers at state tourney

The heartache the Macomb boys golfers endured and the disappointment shared by the Bombers’ rivals resonated loudly. No one considered what happened at the Class 2A state tournament to be equitable or fair. The Bombers shot a 309 in last Friday’s opening round of the state tournament at Weibring Golf Club in Normal, Ill., leaving…

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Schuckman: Put on the shelf by a royal pain in the leg

Cellulitis. The clinical definition for it is “inflammation of subcutaneous connective tissue.” My description of it is a royal pain in the leg. The bacterial infection causing cellulitis got the better of me again last weekend, and I ended up spending four nights in Blessing Hospital with IVs attached to both arms. For those who…

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Schuckman: Calling someone ‘Coach’ is sign of respect they have earned

Jim Wosman no longer coaches baseball at any level at Quincy High School, but being a lifelong seamhead, he’s never far from the game. So it was no surprise when he walked up behind me at a QHS game in the spring and asked if he could saddle up next to me on the wooden…

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Muddy River Breakdown: Two Big Knuckleheads

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman and MRN Editor David Adam talk about Chick-Fil-A, Imo’s Pizza, places to eat in the Quad Cities and … oh, yes, a little high school football as the season enters its fourth week.

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Schuckman: What would your entrance song be coming out of the bullpen?

Neither Mariano Rivera nor Trevor Hoffman’s mark on baseball can ever be erased. And I’m not talking about their save totals. The Hall of Fame closers — Rivera holds the MLB record with 652 saves, while Hoffman is second with 601 saves — became as recognizable for their entrance music as they were for their…

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