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 Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000. 1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city. 1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association. 1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College. 1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.