Stillman Valley ready for another run at a Big Northern title

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7:58 PM CDT
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STILLMAN VALLEY, Ill. (WIFR) - Since the late 90s, winning and Stillman Valley have been synonymous. In head coach Mike Lalor’s career, the Cardinals have finished under .500 just five times in 23 years. After a shortened spring, Lalor hopes a young group can bring the cardinals back to the promised land.

“I don’t want to sound like a cop out answer but this year of any years I don’t know how things are going to shake out.”

A handful of unknowns after a season filled with question marks. The goal of Cardinals head coach Mike Lalor is to fill in as many blanks as possible.

“With any high school program you are going to graduate a group of seniors, the next kids come up,” explained Lalor. “So every year you feel like you’re young.”

Stillman loses star quarterback Chad Gerig and halfback Kaden Viverito to graduation. It leaves a competition at two key positions in the Cardinals offense.

“Honestly we don’t return a lot at any one of the groups.”

Senior Madix Barrett is one of the quaterbacks hoping to start under center. He did see some reps last year while Gerig was out with an injury and expects a competition heading into week one.

“We are going to see how this week and next week goes and probably into the first week as well,” said Barrett. “Then that will set in stone who starts and who doesn’t.”

Lalor says the Cardinals have a long way to go, but his guys believe they will be a tough out in the Big Northern Conference after going 3-2 in their 5-game spring season.

“Just work hard, keep pushing ourselves and just get as many reps as we can,” said senior halfback Gage Henderson. “More reps, better we’re going to get.”

“On defense we are always hitting we are always going hard and I just see our guys they are ready to hit,” explained senior linebacker Colten Cook. “So, I can see us being like Stillman teams of the past.”

“I think we’ve got a good shot to be first or second (in conference),” said Barrett. “Like I said our guys have been working their tails off and I think that’s going to equate to a pretty good season for us.”

Stillman gets one of its toughest tests right out of the gate. The Cardinals battle their rival Byron in Week One. The Tigers took it to the Cards last year, beating them 31-14.

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