‘It gives me goosebumps every time I think about it’: Ertz on verge of breaking Payson hits record

Payson Seymour center fielder Ashton Ertz has tied the program's career hits record held by former professional ballplayer Josh Cook. | Shane Hulsey photo

PAYSON, Ill. — Ashton Ertz and Josh Cook share more than just a record. Ertz, a senior center fielder for the Payson Seymour baseball team, has 86 career hits. This mark puts him in a tie with Cook, a 1993 Payson Seymour graduate who spent time in the Houston Astros and New York Mets farm…

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Miller’s first career home run propels Indians to West Central Conference victory over Panthers

Payson Seymour sophomore Hunter Miller celebrates after hitting his first career home run against Camp Point Central at Payson Seymour High School on Wednesday. | Shane Hulsey photo

PAYSON, Ill. — Relief. That was Hunter Miller’s overwhelming emotion as he rounded the bases for the first home run of his baseball career Wednesday. “It’s taken way too long,” Miller said. The sophomore’s two-run fourth-inning home run helped Payson Seymour secure a 9-6 West Central Conference victory over Camp Point Central. “I’ve been waiting…

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Coaching cousins: Grandfather’s influence shines through in how Fesslers guide rival softball teams

Liberty softball coach B.J. Fessler has gone head-to-head with his cousin, Payson Seymour coach Joe Fessler, twice this season. Their teams meet again Saturday. | Shane Hulsey photo

LIBERTY, Ill. — Sara Reichert sees it as clearly as anyone. Her brother and her cousin share a common trait passed down through generations of the Fessler family. That’s their even-keel disposition. “Our grandparents were sports-loving fans,” said Reichert, the junior varsity softball coach at Liberty, where her first cousin B.J. Fessler is the varsity…

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Toughness and defense: Griggsville-Perry gets back to basics in practice, then routs Payson Seymour

Griggsville-Perry's Michael Myers pulls down a rebound in front of Payson Seymour's Nolan Sparks during Friday night's high school boys basketball game in Payson. | David Adam

PAYSON, Ill. — The last two days of practice for the Griggsville-Perry boys basketball team were not much fun. Tornadoes coach Garrett White thought his team needed a lesson on toughness after it suffered a 54-50 loss on Tuesday to South County, snapping an eight-game winning streak. It was only the fourth time this season…

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Photo Gallery: Tornadoes blow away Indians with 10 3-pointers

Griggsville-Perry's Wyatt Lipcaman drives to the basket while Payson Seymour's Brody Dieker defends during Friday night's high school boys basketball game at Payson. | David Adam

PAYSON, Ill. — Michael Myers made four 3-pointers and finished with 19 points to lead Griggsville-Perry to a 60-32 victory over Payson Seymour on Friday night. The Tornadoes made 10 3-pointers in 17 attempts, while the Indians missed on 14 of their 16 3-point tries. MRN Editor David Adam took photos of some of the…

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Victory over Indians enables Raiders to take some mojo with them to holiday tournament

Quincy Notre Dame's Noah Lunt looks to make a move against the Payson Seymour defense during Thursday night's game in Payson, Ill. | Samantha Carmean photo

PAYSON, Ill. — The Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team’s 65-37 victory over Payson Seymour left Aden Genenbacher satisfied, but not necessarily overjoyed. “We’re still trying to find our identity,” said Genenbacher, a 6-foot-4 senior guard who scored a game-high 21 points Thursday night. The victory came after back-to-back losses for QND (6-4), which is…

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McMillen, Mustangs power through to finish off Indians in fourth quarter

Unity boys basketball coach Keith Carothers and the Mustangs are 6-3 following Friday night's 50-41 victory at Payson Seymour. | Muddy River Sports file photo

PAYSON, Ill. — Melvin McMillen thoroughly enjoyed himself Friday night. “I like a physical style of game, and it’s also great when there’s a lot of trash talkin’ going on,” said McMillen, a 6-foot-4 senior whose 27 points and 12 rebounds spearheaded Unity’s 50-41 victory over rival Payson Seymour. McMillen was at his best when…

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Prairie State Profile: Payson’s Frese becomes program’s first golfer to reach state tournament

Payson Seymour senior golfer Aden Frese shot an 81 at the Class 1A Auburn Sectional to qualify for the state tournament this weekend at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington, Ill. | Matt Schuckman photo

PAYSON, Ill. — Aden Frese positioned himself to make history. Then came the ninth hole at Edgewood Golf Course in Auburn, Ill., and suddenly, he felt like he was teetering on the edge. A wayward shot into the woods on his final hole of the Class 1A Auburn Sectional saddled the Payson Seymour senior golfer…

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Match-play mentality on back nine carries QND boys golf team to sectional championship

The Quincy Notre Dame boys golf team poses for a team picture after winning the Class 1A Auburn Sectional title Monday at Edgewood Golf Course in Auburn, Ill. | Submitted photo

AUBURN, Ill. — As the Quincy Notre Dame boys golfers made the turn Monday, the situation seemed pretty cut and dry. Beat Bloomington Central Catholic head-to-head and win a sectional championship. Raiders coach Brian Hendrian didn’t shy away from telling his golfers that. “We went out there and played it like a Ryder Cup format…

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Photo gallery: QND volleyball team sweeps Payson Seymour at The Pit

Quincy Notre Dame's Annie Eaton, left, and Lauren Hummel block a hit by Payson Seymour's Jessica Whipple during Wednesday night's match at The Pit. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Coming off a second-place finish at the Lincoln Tournament in which it went 4-1 against Class 3A and 4A competition, the Quincy Notre Dame volleyball team returned home Wednesday for a West Central Conference matchup with Payson Seymour. A balanced attack that featured three hitters leading the way with five kills apiece led…

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Raiders continue hit parade against Indians, run winning streak to 11 straight with Titans looming

Quincy Notre Dame pitcher Brooke Boden, right, and the Raiders infielders exchange high-fives before the first inning Wednesday against Payson Seymour at The Backyard. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Addi Zanger understands there’s a peaceful, easy feeling knowing the Quincy Notre Dame softball players won’t let each other down. It helps they’re all on common ground. “You want to get a hit, but there’s no stress,” the senior first baseman said. “We have good at-bats all the way through. It’s a really…

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Photo gallery: QND softball team racks up 16 hits in victory over Payson Seymour

Quincy Notre Dame's Carlee Gilker reacts to reaching second base safely with a double during the fourth inning of Wednesday's victory over Payson Seymour at The Backyard. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The full potency of the Quincy Notre Dame softball team’s lineup was on display Wednesday in a 12-4 victory over Payson Seymour at The Backyard. The Raiders racked up 16 hits, five doubles, a triple and a home run, while seven different players had at least one hit and six players drove in…

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Indians cap improbable run to regional title by beating Trojans in overtime

PAYSON, Ill. — The Brotherhood plays on. The Payson Seymour boys basketball team’s latest unexpected postseason success, a 42-39 overtime victory Friday night in the Class 1A regional finals against Triopia, allows the underdog Indians to keep their unlikely tournament dream alive. “It’s a brotherhood here in Payson, a family,” junior point guard Wyatt Neisen…

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Barker’s late 3-pointer completes Payson Seymour’s upset of No. 7-ranked New Berlin

Payson Seymour's Lane Barker shoots a 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of New Berlin's Ben Hermes in the semifinals of the Class 1A regional at Payson Seymour on Wednesday night. | David Adam photo

PAYSON, Ill. — Lane Barker was not designed to take the last shot. Fortunately, he did. Barker, a 5-foot-8 sophomore guard, buried a 3-point field goal from the left corner with 2.4 seconds to play Wednesday night, sending Payson Seymour to a 41-38 upset of New Berlin in the Class 1A regional semifinals. New Berlin…

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Photo gallery: New Berlin gets twisted by Payson Seymour, Griggsville-Perry falls in overtime

Payson Seymour's Wyatt Neisen dribbles to the basket past New Berlin's Lucas Bixby during Wednesday night's Class 1A regional semifinal game at Payson Seymour High School. | David Adam photo

PAYSON, Ill. — Lane Barker’s 3-pointer from the corner with 2.4 seconds remaining in the game gave the Payson Seymour boys basketball team a 41-38 victory over state-ranked New Berlin in the semifinals of the Class 1A Payson Regional on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Griggsville-Perry won 24 games during the regular season, but the Tornadoes’ season…

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Wallingford’s return helps Raiders kickstart Shootout weekend with victory over Indians

Quincy Notre Dame's Jake Wallingford, left, and Braden Sheffield line up to rebound on a free throw during Friday night's game against Payson Seymour in the KHQA-American Family Insurance Superfan Shootout at The Pit. | Ron Kinscherf photo

QUINCY — The gentle giant is back. Jake Wallingford, the soft-spoken big man with an even softer jump shot, is once again an integral part of the Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team. The 6-foot-8 senior made his season debut Friday night, helping QND to a 70-42 victory over Payson Seymour in the KHQA-American Family…

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JWCC Prairie State Profile: Payson’s Dieker develops confidence as strong as his game

Payson Seymour senior forward Bryan Dieker has been as physically dominant and aggressive on the hardwood as he was on the gridiron. | Photo courtesy Sarah Donley Photography

PAYSON, Ill. — All of those running backs who were stopped dead in their tracks the past couple of seasons by Unity-Payson linebacker Bryan Dieker might find this funny. Five years ago, he didn’t know how to tackle. Those trying to defend Dieker on the basketball court might find this funny, too. Three years ago,…

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Dieker guides Payson Seymour to MVIT championship

MENDON, Ill. — Maybe it was the tournament championship his team had just won. Or the appreciative response he was hearing from those who packed the gym at Unity High School. Or just possibly it was him soaking in all that is good about high school athletics on a warm December night.  “This is what…

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Payson girls basketball coach resigns amid investigation by Adams County Sheriff’s Office

PAYSON, Ill. — Payson Seymour girls basketball coach Bert Koehler resigned Wednesday from his duties as a teacher and coach amid an investigation being conducted by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. Koehler, who was a junior high math teacher, is being investigated for allegedly exchanging text messages with a 14-year-old student. He submitted his resignation…

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Holiday Tournament Roundup: Indians clamp down defensively to secure championship

The Payson Seymour boys basketball team extended its winning streak to six games by winning the championship of the Greenview Holiday Tournament. Photo courtesy Tyler Duschinsky

GREENVIEW, Ill. —Tyler Duschinsky received some validation Thursday that the Payson Seymour boys basketball players are adapting well to the first-year coach’s style. The trophy the Indians won was nice, but the manner in which they won it was more impressive. Payson locked down defensively, limiting North Fulton to nine points in the second half…

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50 After 50: No. 42 Indians set stage for program to enjoy consistent run of high-level success

Front Row: Dalton Edwards, JD Church, Joey Blickhan, Jake Voss, Daulton Speckhart, Jacob Farr, Carter Epperson, Austin Coultas Back Row: Nick Koetters, Lance Buhlig, Brett Loos, Frank Holtschlag, Gage Klitz, Cameron Brink, Hunter Flesner, Cody Hildebrand, Coach Brian Rea Photo courtesy Brian Rea

The Illinois High School Association created a second class for boys basketball for the 1971-72 school year. The 2020-21 season would have been the 50th year of the boys basketball small-school tournament. Muddy River Sports is celebrating 50 years of small-school boys basketball by ranking the 50 best teams in Adams, Brown, Pike and Hancock…

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