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 Monday, March 10, the 69th day of 2014. There are 296 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Numerous counterfeiters are around, taking advantage of the influx of currency to pass their worthless trash. 1889 -- 125 years ago: J.J. Reimers, secretary and treasurer of the Rock Island Lumber and Manufacturing Co., on behalf of that firm, contributed $500 toward construction of a new Methodist church. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Samuel Ryerson, county recorder, was re-elected president of the 19th District of Knights of Pythias. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Three condemnation suits have been filed by the city of Rock Island to acquire property needed for an approach to the Rock Island-Davenport bridge, which has been under construction since March 6. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Plans for an eight-story Sheraton Inn in downtown Rock Island were announced today at a luncheon meeting at the Gay Nineties sponsored by the Rock Island Chamber of Commerce. Cost of the structure is estimated at $2.5 million. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Representatives of the Hardee's Golf Classic and tournament sponsor Hardee's Food Systems may meet next week with PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman to discuss a possible change in the tournament dates.