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 Saturday, July 26, the 207th day of 2014. There are 158 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: It is said that the ferry company has cleared about $10,000 since the burning of the railroad bridge. Couldn't the company now afford to pay that little bill it owes the city? 1889 -- 125 years ago: The sum of $4 million in cash in addition to supplies of immense value were forwarded to Jamestown, Pa., from all parts of the country for relief of the sufferers from the great flood. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Board of Education secured a site for the New Central Grammar School by purchasing additional property south of Irving School for $3,400. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The total number of workers employed at the Farmall Works of International Harvester Co. has reached a peak of 5,300, the largest payroll in Rock Island. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Army engineers testified today that the water levels of Lakes Huron and Michigan are at a 104-year low. The condition is causing a multi-million dollar loss to commercial shipping. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Department of Revenue issued certification for a tax-increment- financing district Friday afternoon, opening one more door for developer Jim Massa to proceed through on his way to establishing an automobile raceway.