1 -- Apart, then together
Mark Ramsey came in and meshed right away with St. Teresa. The long-time football coach guided the Bulldogs to a 12-2 record and their first state appearance since 1986.
Up north, Maroa-Forsyth tackles a brand new conference and beat North Mac for share of the Sangamo title in Week 9. The Trojans, despite a different route, still make it back to the state championship for the sixth time in 11 years.
For the first time in a long time, the two don't play against each other. Both fall in the state title game hours apart by the same score, 35-7.
2 -- Banner Bulldogs
After graduating nearly every starter, Effingham St. Anthony comes out of nowhere to win Class 1A basketball title in overtime. Drew Gibson, the lone senior for the Bulldogs, was dominant throughout the year and poignantly scored the last four points.
3 -- The time is now
Not only did Warrensburg football break the seven-year playoff drought, the Cardinals won their first two playoff games in 28 years. It started in dramatic fashion against Argenta-Oreana before Dionte and Diondre Lewis ran all over Brown County.
4 -- Must-see basketball
The Eisenhower/MacArthur basketball games have always drawn big crowds and the games are usually entertaining. But the added draw of both programs being well on the upswing delivered highlights like the January overtime thriller.
5 -- Back to gold
In the six years since Teutopolis last state championship, the 2011 baseball team, Shoes athletics hung five blue banners (signifying second, third and fourth at state). The baseball team delivered another gold, dominating the two state games 21-2.
6 -- Time to fly
After the state prelims, it was hard to walk too far before hearing buzz about the Eisenhower sisters Tina and Katina Martin. After a injury-filled year, the two thrilled at state track, picking up 3 medals between the two of them.
7 -- Back on top
It was impressive enough having Lauren Chappell come back to win her third state championship, but Charleston as a team became just the second program in the H&R area to win a team golf title.
8 -- Cardinals track down 2nd
Warrensburg-Latham's KD Young wins shot and discus for fourth time, joining Carlinville's Kelsey Card as the only girl to earn that achievement. Then the rest of the Cardinals pick up points, including a 4x200 relay win, to take second at state.
9 -- Braves charmed
Mount Zion basketball had their ups and downs throughout the regular season. But once the playoffs started, so did their revenge tour, coming back to beat Effingham and Eisenhower, winning a regional title in the process.
10 -- Girl power
The past couple of seasons, the seeds of great teams were building up between the girls basketball and softball programs at Tri-City/Sangamon Valley. This year, basketball nearly ran the table in the regular season, and both teams won regional titles.
Jacardia Wright rushed for seven touchdowns and 266 yards on just 13 carries to power St. Teresa to a 56-20 win against Warrensburg in Week 3.
Playing with nothing to lose, Central A&M's Jameson Smith and Keaton Garner nearly made state history against Warrensburg-Latham in Week 9. Garner had 24 receptions (two short of the IHSA record) that turned into 235 yards and four touchdowns. Smith completed 29 of 37 passes for 436 yards and seven TDs.
Mitch Bierman has fourth-most rushing yards in H&R history with 2,702. Perhaps the most impressive performance game in the playoff opener against Auburn, where Bierman ran 30 times for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Turner Pullen records 414 yards from scrimmage and runs or passes for all five touchdowns as Shelbyville holds off Menden Unity 36-34 in the second round of the playoffs.
With a trip to Normal on the line, senior Becca Schlechte locked down the net for Windsor/Stew-Stras with excellent defense while providing 30 assists as the Hatchets beat Springfield Lutheran.
Even though it ended up as a loss for MacArthur, Armon Brummett's 34 points against Eisenhower helped push the game into overtime. He sank 5 3s and even made a shot while sitting on the court.
Oblong's Dawson Maus is a deadly outside shooter, but it all came together in the LOVC boys basketball championship game. The senior scored 48 points against LSA, hitting 10 3-pointers in the 73-47 win.
It couldn't have been much more perfect. Sangamon Valley's Jimmy Staab struck out the first 18 batters en route to a 19-strikeout perfect game against Riverton. Oh, and Staab homered to help himself in the 2-0 win.
Against Casey-Westfield, which eventually made a super-sectionals run, Tuscola's Morgan Day struck out 16 to lead the Warriors to a 2-1 win in the Tuscola Invitational.
There were some good days leading up to state for Katina Martin, but none were quite as impressive as her state finals. She flew to an 11.52 time in the 100 -- the fastest time in any class -- before winning again in the 200.
In the state championship game, Eric Kremer and Jason Kenter were nearly flawless for Teutopolis. Kenter went a perfect 4-for-4, driving in three runs, and Kremer threw seven innings and gave up no earned runs.
Shoes' bus hit
Thankfully, the traffic accident wasn't worse. But when video surfaced of Teutopolis basketball's team bus being hit and turned over on its side, the worst was feared.
Peoria rolled up multiple 70-point games on opponents, but the playoff game against Eisenhower hit another level. Peoria won 96-40, making it the fourth-highest point total in a game in IHSA history. Peoria went on to win the state title.
Defense wins championships
In week 2, Tuscola's defense and special teams scored more than the offense did. With two kickoff returns and four interceptions returned for touchdowns, that outpaced the Warriors' offense, which scored four touchdowns in a 69-8 win against Villa Grove.
Picking up the W
It was a long coming. But after 33 games over four years, Lincoln football picked up a win, beating Lanphier 21-20. With about three minutes left in the game, Isaiah Bowers scored a touchdown before Alex Bogdanic drilled the winning point through the uprights.
Over and out
After a couple of seasons coaching Maroa-Forsyth basketball, hometown hero Robert Kreps abruptly moved on. The 2007 grad said he was looking for a different opportunity and headed out of state.
A team that usually flew up and down the court, MacArthur basketball had a possession in the non-city tournament that looked like a video buffering. With 1:18 left in the quarter against Jacksonville, Amir Brummett held onto the ball, without dribbling, for 1:09. He eventually passed to his brother Armon, who sank a 3.
Top three-sport athletes
Brody Ulrey, Sr., Argenta-Oreana
Ulrey has an arm that can do perform in every season, football, basketball and baseball.
Jacardia Wright, So., St. Teresa
Football is well-known, but that speed carries over to the track and strength carries to basketball.
Briley Housh, Sr., LSA
He'll go on to play two sports at Millikin, and the versatile athlete helped make sure LSA's boys teams won constantly.
Mitch Bierman, Sr., Newton
Racing the track state championships, Bierman also hammered away on the baseball diamond after a huge season of football.
Richie Well, Sr., Vandalia
Quarterbacking the football team to the playoffs, Well led the basketball team before an all-state baseball season.
Dawson Maus, Sr., Oblong
Another quarterback who could fire away from the baseball mound as well, Maus completed it as a deadly 3-point shooter.
Dalton Hoel, Jr., Tuscola
Picking up four sports, Hoel did long jump and played basketball in between impressive years with football and baseball.
Tyson Magee, Jr., Cumberland
A two-time state track qualifier, Magee could put up big offensive games on the court while torching teams as a receiver on the football field.
Keaton Garner, Sr., Central A&M
Being first-team all-conference in baseball, basketball and football is an easy way to make this list. Garner was a true triple threat who knew exactly what his team needed, no matter the sport.
DaeLin Switzer, So., St. Teresa
Even with injuries nagging away, Switzer was dominant at track. Add in a strong volleyball and basketball resume, too.
Daylee Denton, Sr., Pana
What didn't she do? A state track medalist, she was an integral part of the girls soccer and basketball teams as well.
Megan Schlechte, So., Windsor/Stew-Stras
The volleyball court is where she hits the hardest, but she led a revived basketball team before firing away from the circle in the spring.
Kate Beckemeyer, Jr., Maroa-Forsyth
She was the Trojans go-to scorer in basketball and helped one of the area's best volleyball teams before settling into her best sport -- softball.
Amy Aukamp, Sr., Meridian
A leader no matter the season, Aukamp kept the Hawks in high spirits with volleyball, basketball and softball.
Lauren Block, Sr. Lincoln
She is headed to Parkland College to play softball next season and was on the basketball and volleyball team.
Olivia Jordan, Sr. Central A&M
In the past Jordan filled roles as an underclassman before turning in a leading role in softball, basketball and volleyball.
Jenna Woltman, Sr., Effingham St. Anthony
An outstanding setter on the volleyball court and hitter in softball, she was a part of the clay target team as well.
Reilly Fitzgerald, Jr., Maroa-Forsyth
Certainly one of the more unique three-sport athletes, she kicked for the football team, ran cross country and then played girls soccer in the spring.