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 Sunday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2013. There are 23 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: For the whole of last week we have been favored with the most delightful Indian summer weather, and mercury ranging from 40 to 65 above zero. The river is entirely clear of ice and looks as mild and soft as summer. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Albert Johnson was appointed a deputy in the circuit clerk's office. 1913 -- 100 years ago: 800 or more tons of earth in six landslides covered 38th Street for a distance of 200 feet near 7th Avenue and destroyed much property. 1938 -- 75 years ago: One of the 350-foot towers, which with a new transmitter will increase the power of WHBF to 1,000 watts day and night, has been completed on a 20-acre tract at 23rd Avenue and 51st Street, Moline. 1963 -- 50 years ago: In cooperation with The Associated Press, The Argus presents to its readers a complete, beginning-to-end account of one of the most tragic and dreadful chapters in American history, the assassination of President Kennedy, available in book form, and now in preparation. The book is entitled "The Torch is Passed." 1988 -- 25 years ago: Deere & Co. stockholders received good news of a boost in their quarterly dividends from 20 to 30 cents per share of common stock. The dividend, made to stockholders of record on Dec. 30, will be payable on Feb. 1, 1989.