Last-second wins, state titles, coaching changes, upsets — Central Illinois had many memorable moments in 2017. Now we turn our gaze toward 2018 and the possibilities that come with the New Year. Get ready. Get set. ...

Five other stories you should read are Vikings sail past Bears, two college football semifinal previews, EIU alumnus Jimmy Garoppolo leads 49ers to win and the Bulls fall under the Wizards' spell.

... Go. The Herald & Review sports scene shifts to 2018.

The stage has been set.

While there were plenty of memorable moments in 2017 Herald & Review-area sports — MacArthur's upset win against Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin in football, Effingham St. Anthony's state title in basketball among them — much of what happened was primer for 2018.

Like always in sports, there will be wins and losses. But, either way, it will be a fun ride.

Vikings sail past Bears in season finale

Latavius Murray rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns, and the Vikings held Chicago to 86 total yards through three quarters on their way to wrapping up a first-round bye for the playoffs with a 23-10 victory over the Bears on Sunday.

In what could have been the final game for coach John Fox, who's 14-34 in three seasons, the Bears didn't cross midfield until the fourth quarter and totaled only 30 yards rushing. They were penalized 10 times for 116 yards and went 1 for 14 on third and fourth down conversions.

EIU alumnus Garoppolo leads 49ers to another win

Eastern Illinois University alumnus Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns to lead the San Francisco 49ers to their fifth straight victory, 34-13 on Sunday against a Los Angeles Rams team resting its big stars for the playoffs.

Semifinal previews: Clemson vs. Alabama; Georgia vs. Oklahoma

For the third year in a row, Clemson will meet Alabama in the College Football Playoff, only this time it will be in the Sugar Bowl semifinal rather than the national championship game.

A few days after the Rose Bowl matchup between No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia was set, Sooners coach Lincoln Riley and Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart ran into each other at a high school in Georgia. They were there by themselves to recruit the same player.

Beal mesmerizes Bulls with 39 points

Bradley Beal delivered when the Wizards needed him most.

Beal scored 17 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter to lead Washington to a 114-110 win over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

Beal scored 15 straight points in the fourth as the Wizards rallied from an eight-point deficit.


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