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Polo, Orangeville ready for 8-man state title showdown

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 2:46 PM CST
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(WIFR) - It’ll be a battle of former NUIC teams Friday night when Polo and Orangeville meet at Monmouth College for the Illinois 8-Man state championship game.

Polo enters the match-up as the defending 8-Man state champions. The Marcos went undefeated in their first season in the league in 2019, winning the title over Milford-Cissna Park. A COVID-shortened spring season saw Polo play just two games. However, this season the Marcos are right back at the top, entering the playoffs as the one-seed. Polo has averaged nearly 60 points per game in the postseason. Now the Marcos prepare for Orangeville. Although the two have seen each other many times in the 11-man game, this will be their first meeting in 8-Man. Head coach Ted Alston sees a lot in common on the field.

“I mean they’re a big physical tough team, they like to run,” said Alston. “They’re NUIC like we were and we kind of have a very similar philosophy, very similar personnel, so we’re both trying to do the same thing, we’ll see who does it better”

Orangeville comes in losing just once in its first season in 8-Man. The Broncos have rolled through their three playoff games, giving up just 40 points total. Orangeville is in search of its first football state championship since 1989. Head coach Bill Meier expects it to be a four-quarter game.

“Polo is an extremely good team, they’re very well coached, they’re always prepared to play,” said Meier. “They’re good at what they do, they’re disciplined, it’s a big challenge for us and they’ll be ready, guarantee it”

The two teams have the two top runners in the 8-Man north division. Orangeville’s Gunar Lobdell has been a workhorse. According to NUICFootball.com, Lobdell has more than 2,200 yards on the ground and 41 touchdowns. The Marcos have a two-headed monster in the backfield. Brock Soltow and Avery Grenoble each have 23 touchdowns on the season and nearly identical rushing yard totals (1,388 for Soltow and 1,358 for Genoble).

Seven players in total playing for the championship were named to the Illinois 8-Man All-State team. Polo’s Grenoble, Soltow, and Tyler Merdian, while for Orangeville, Lobdell, Jared Stubbe, Nate Anderson and Ryan Guy get the nod.

Kick-off for this highly anticipated game is set for 7:00 p.m.

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