CHAMPAIGN -- The Mercer County football team capitalized on turnovers and fortunate bounces to win the Class 2A state championship on Friday afternoon.
The Golden Eagles forced six turnovers in a 14-7 win over Belleville Althoff at Memorial Stadium. The final one -- a fumble recovery -- sealed Mercer County's first state title in the four-year history of the program.
The game-winning score came on Devin Morford's 95-yard fumble return with 8 minutes, 31 seconds left in the third quarter. After that, Mercer County (14-0) stymied every Althoff (10-4) drive in the final 20 minutes.
Mercer County trailed 7-0 late in the first half, but tied the score on Jesse Snyder's 2-yard touchdown run with 15 seconds left in the second quarter.
Prior to Mercer County being formed by Aledo and Westmer's consolidation in 2009, Aledo won three state titles. The Green Dragons were Class 2A champions in 1998, 2001 and 2002.
Today is Tuesday, May 21, the 141st day of 2013. There are 224 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: On Monday the 11th inst. on Center Ridge in Mercer County,some citizens got out their cannon to celebrate the taking of Richmond. The gun wasoverloaded and burst. No one was injured, but one 30-pound piece went though thesecond story of a house. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The old folks concert at the Harper Theater last night to benefit St.Luke's Cottage Hospital, attracted a large audience. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Unless depredation by vandals in Rock Island parks is halted,special policemen will be assigned to night duty to protect the flowers and other property. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Station WHBF has received a special citation from Washington forits participation in Air Mail Week, which was observed this week throughout the nation. 1963 -- 50 years ago: A 10-year high in employment in the Quad-City area was reachedat the end of the last quarter, according to an industrial employment barometer releasedtoday. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Pee Wee teams will be able to play baseball and softball as usualon Diamond Three at Dorrance Park this summer, but after that, the ball field is doomed.County crews have put the diamond back in shape after heavy trucks marred the playingfield earlier this spring. Illinois Department of Transportation crews drove onto it to makeborings for the relocation of the junction of Illinois 84 and the Port Byron-Hillsdale road.