Making adjustments

Maroa-Forsyth coach Josh Jostes said the Trojans tried to change their personnel to fit the styles Morrison and Sterling Newman played when they lost in state-title games in 2009 and '10.

This time, against Stockton, Maroa made just one minor change to its 3-5 defense, making it a 4-5 instead.

“Our biggest adjustment was to say, ‘We’re going to do what we do.’ This is the defense that got us here. But our skill kids are going to have to be more physical," Jostes said. “Our defensive backs are good cover kids, but sometimes they don’t want to be big hitters. A kid like Drew Aschermann would rather guard guys than run alleys. But it’s going to happen – you’re going to have to hit someone.

“We tell them, 'Either we have to sub you out, or you have to become more physical. If you don’t want to leave the field, hit.' "

Bigger teams are going to have a strength advantage against  fast kids, and fast kids will have a speed advantage against big kids. The key is who wins the mismatch

“Our thought process became -- let's stop this team with our guys doing what they’re supposed to do. Now they have a big tackle trying to chase down our linebackers and they’re not going to catch them," Jostes said. “We won’t out-coach ourselves anymore on either side of the ball.”

Next year

Jostes tried to deflect a question about a possible repeat at Friday's press conference, but couldn't help at least giving a glimpse into the 2013 season.

After a seven-man senior class this year, that number boosts to a whopping 18 next year. At least 10 of the current Maroa juniors were major contributors on this year's team, and the Trojans also have, as Jostes put it, "a pretty decent sophomore," in quarterback Jack Hockaday.

“That gives us a shot,” Jostes said. “Our kids will take a week off, most will head to basketball and the rest will start back in the weight room the first week of December. Our goal is to be at state every year and that’s not going to change.”

At this point, if Maroa doesn't repeat, it's a disappointment. That's a lot of pressure, but Maroa has T-shirts that say, "Pressure is a privilege."

Maroa loses some good players -- the offensive line will be hit particularly hard. But there isn't a unit that doesn't return good players.

Offensive backfield -- QB Jack Hockaday, RB Jordan Bond, FB Justin Mikeworth

Offensive line -- G Brock Elliott, C Tyler Ortmann. 

Receiving -- WR Drew Fredericksen, WR Clayton Zilz, WR Alec Martin. Also, TE Arber Emroski and WR Sam Stogsdill could play a bigger role next year.

Defensive line -- DT Christian Whicker. Ortmann also played some line and can slip in there. 

Linebackers -- MLB Mikeworth, ILB Elliott, OLB Emroski, OLB Hockaday

Defensive backs -- CB Fredericksen. Zilz could step in at linebacker or defensive back, Martin and Stogsdill could also step in.

The legend of Jack Hockaday

What Hockaday accomplished as a sophomore quarterback can't be overstated.

Like what was reported in Saturday's paper, Hockaday's 71.4 completion percentage (193-of-270) broke his brother Luke's school-record 67.6 mark from 2005. If he keeps it up two more years, he'll easily break Andy Pittenger's Maroa career mark of 64.1 percent.

Hockaday's final passing yards mark of 2,529 ranks third-best in school history -- just 47 yards behind Stelzriede's career-high of 2,576 in 2010. Luke holds the record with 2,844. Hockaday accounted for 50 total touchdowns this year. Maroa's record-book didn't list a record for total TDs, but 50 is almost certainly it. Luke had 42 total touchdowns in 2006 when he set the school record for most passing TDs in a season with 39. 


There was grumbling in the press box and on Twitter about Maroa going for a touchdown on a fourth-down play up by 12 points with 35 seconds left.

Stockton didn't use either of its timeouts, and Maroa took as much time off the clock as it could. The possession started with 2:58 left in the game and Hockaday went up the middle against Stockton's first-team defense with 35 seconds left.

Why wouldn't you score there? It's the state championship game. Even it appeared the other team gave up by not calling timeouts, why leave it to chance? 

I don't see any problem with the final touchdown, either. Jacob Barra, a backup defensive lineman, scored from 35 yards out when Stockton starting quarterback Thomas Fox fumbled and Barra recovered. If he's not supposed to score there, then why is he even on the field? If teams want the other team to stop playing, maybe there should be some sort of white flag option, where a team can just choose to end the game. Otherwise, let the kids who are out there play football.

(10) comments

john sheary OD
john sheary OD

Justin Conn: In reading about 1A state champ. game in the above I-80 newspapers in Freeport, Rockford, Chicago, etc., Stockton HC Thornton made no comments concerning the last 2 MF Trojan TD's. In fact, he was quite complimentary toward the MF Trojan football team's play & coaching. He made no excuses except that he felt that his team turned the ball over more & did not execute as well as during the rest of the season. My thoughts: if he has no issue with the final 2 TD's, why should anyone else. Were the individuals in the press box that were grumbling just "old school mentality" football minds, or were they the " politically correct, we must not hurt anyone's feelings" group.

john sheary OD
john sheary OD

Justin Conn: were these "same individuals" in the press box grumbling in 2010 when both Lena-Winslow & Sterling Newman Catholic both scored to initiate a running clock on Tuscola & Maroa-Forsyth in the 1A & 2A state championship games lol??


Dr.OD,, give it up. You cannot let anyone else have an opinion unless it agrees with you. Is that what they taught you in leg extremities 101.

john sheary OD
john sheary OD

Evergreen: anyone may have an opinion & if I agree or disagree with it, so what. When someone as yourself makes speculative accusations with no proof or evidence, than I will challenge your accusations. Leg extremities 101?? Now is that a statement of ignorance or just a plain stupid statement from you??


Maroa will be certainly be competitive, but they will likely be in 2a next year. Besides, Mikeworth might decide that the commute from Ashland Ave isn't worth it.

Clown from the North
Clown from the North I love how everyone is throwing barbs without saying what school or town they support. Either you are a parent from MT Zion that is upset because there is no chance that football there will have a ring like Justin! Or you are from one of the CIC schools that cant compete with MTF or the bigger schools! What is going to be sad is when MTF wins it all again next year whether it is 1A/2A! Then we will be right back in here saying all this over! LOL....How about just be happy for an area team to win it all!


I am from Villa Grove. I figured incorrectly that the "douglascounty" thing might be a clue. What I find interesting is that you made no effort to refute my claim that the Mikeworths main residence is on Ashland in MTZ. I hope that the illegitimate ring that Justin has is worth the deception he and his parents perpetuated to get it. Seems like that plus turning your back on your community and childhood friends would be too steep a price to pay. As for next year, MF has a chance thanks to Hockaday, one of the most exciting small school players I've seen in 40 years of watching. I am more interested in seeing who MF will play now that they've caused the breakup of the Okaw. Maybe they and Unity can play each other 9 times a year.

john sheary OD
john sheary OD

Douglascounty: just curious, did you feel the same "disdain" for Jonathan Turner & his parents/guardians when he attended school/played for Tuscola's 2010 state runner-up?

FYI in 2014, we will play Monticello, Tolono, Rantoul, St Thomas More, St. Joe Ogden, & 4 other schools who are not afraid to compete!

I am confident we will be a 2A school in 2014 as the freshman class will be projected @ 115 students in itself. Do not know about next year, but we will play whoever, whether in 1A or 2A brackets. Maybe mTf will travel to play Villa Grove next fall in the 1A playoffs?

Last time I checked, Monticello, Tolono Unity, & Maroa-Forsyth are/will still be in the Okaw Valley Conference.



john sheary: for some reason i couldn't reply to you directly so I'm replying to myself. :-) In my mind, one sham transfer doesn't justify another. Turner left VG because his relationship with his coaches had deteriorated beyond repair. He actually served a 3-4 game suspension at Tuscola that had been imposed at VG, so i don't think he and Mikeworths' situations are identical. I hold neither boy in contempt. They both did what they and their parents felt they had to do. I simply stated that in my mind the price they paid was too steep. Afraid to compete? How about wish to compete on a level playing field? The schools you list are all 3a, which reinforces this idea, don't you think? VG very well could make the playoffs next year, but of course we'll be missing Ryan Pearce, who is to my mind the best all around athlete to ever haunt the halls of Villa Grove.HS. It would have been interesting to see he and Hockaday matched up one on one in the open field. Last time I checked, a four school conference didn't get an automatic playoff berth, and as for those last 4 games...get your traveling shoes ready. I believe you'll need them.

Clown from the North
Clown from the North

I can not believe I have not responded to this. A little late I know but listen there is nothing wrong in having 2 houses? Or choosing which school district to go to school at. And as for childhood friends, they are all still friends. Most of his friends didnt even go out for football but didnt have the means to move. And I am not sure why you are so bitter? VG would have never beaten MTF with or without JM.

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