Forreston A Win Away From Second State Title in 3 Years
Forreston will be looking for its second football state championship in three years.
The Cardinals (13-0) play Decatur St. Teresa (12-1) for the 1A State title 10 a.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. Forreston slso won the state crown in 2014.
The Cardinals, the top ranked team in 1A, have been first in our Stateline Sports Hub NUIC rankings all year.
Forreston has outscored its foes 514-68. In the playoffs, the Cardinals have dominated rolling over Luther North 67-0, Stark County 43-14, Lena-Winslow 44-7 and, most recently, Ottawa Marquette 35-7 in the semifinal.
St. Teresa beat Hardin Calhoun 34-20 in its semifinal win. Their only loss came to Tuscola 33-14 in week seven. Tuscola was eliminated by Hardin Calhoun in the quarterfinals.
St. Teresa is led by all-state running back Jacardia Wright and lineman Sam Luckenbill.
St. Teresa will make its fifth appearance in the championship game, but it's been 30 years. They won the title three times in 1974, 1975 (beating Stockton 35-0 in 2A) and 1979 and runner-up in 1986.
The NUIC has had a team in the state finals 13 of the last 14 years. Three times were double champions in 1A and 2A 2005 (Aquin and Dakota), 2007 (Dakota and Galena) and 2014 (Forreston and Eastland/Pearl City).
Forreston is led by all-state running back AJ Christensen and linebacker Noah Hope. They are joined on the 1A all-state team with other NUIC players Andrew Wenger (running back/linebacker) of Dakota and Lena-Winslow running back Rahveon Valentine. And from 2A Eastland/Pearl City tight end Brighton Haverland.
Forreston will be the 27th NUIC team in a state final. They are hoping to be the 19th state champion.
Leading with three each are Freeport Aquin (1981, 1986 and 2005), Dakota (2005, 2007 and 2011) and Galena (1997, 2003 and 2007).