At halftime of Rock Island Alleman’s football home opener tonight against Dixon at Ericson Field, four former Pioneers and the 1986 football team will be announced as Alleman’s Hall of Fame Class of 2011.
Two-time all-American wrestler Olie Johnson (a 1979 graduate), three-time all-state softball pitcher Karenmarie Pena (’00), track state champion Nick Hird (’02) and football and wrestling standout Robert Barlow (’05) comprise this year’s class. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Alleman’s Mike Tracey-coached Class 4A state football runner-up, and those Pioneers are also in the group.
Johnson, Pena and Hird furthered their athletic careers at colleges in Illinois, while Barlow has reached first lieutenant rank after attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
The induction ceremony is after the game in Alleman’s cafeteria. Players, coaches and spouses of the 1986 football team are invited to a mixer Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
Finishing the job: Before the football season began, new Riverdale football coach Nick Schroder was determined to fix the Rams’ habit of dropping close games. Riverdale was 0-4 in games decided by seven points or less last season, which Schroder thought caused their 1-8 record.
After one game, it appears the Rams have gotten the message.
Riverdale scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns last week to post a 27-6 win over Amboy, giving the first-year coach the performance he wanted.
“I’m absolutely pleased,” Schroder said. “We’ve focused all year on competing, and that’s something Riverdale has always done until last year. 0-4 in close games last year tells me you don’t know how to finish, but I thought we did a nice job in that fourth quarter scoring twice.
“The kids are buying in. It’s been a hot week, but the words out of the kids’ mouth are that we have to go back to work. We know one thing, and that’s how to work.”
Taking charge: During the offseason, Rock Island acted on a recommendation from soccer coach Conan Dalton that the school’s programs would be better served if he focused on the girls team, and someone else took charge of the boys.
So far, the move has worked well, as the Rocks are 5-2 under new boys coach Cory Dalton, including a 2-0 win over Rock Island Alleman on Monday to open Western Big Six play.
Cory Dalton, the brother of Conan, said the move was hardly an adjustment because he spent eight years as a Rock Island assistant before taking the head-coaching job and because he and his brother had prepared to make the switch.
“It’s been a fairly easy transition,” Dalton said. “I’m very familiar with the administration, and the staff and school gave me a lot of support. I did a lot of training over the past two years with my brother, getting ready to take over.”