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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Tazewell County football coaches made first-year competition successful

  • TimesNewspapers would like to thank the three high school football coaches who participated this NFL season in its Pro Football Weekly Celebrity Pickers contest.
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  • TimesNewspapers would like to thank the three high school football coaches who participated this NFL season in its Pro Football Weekly Celebrity Pickers contest.
    Morton football head coach Jason Thiry, East Peoria football head coach Doug Martin and Washington football assistant coach Mark O'Neill joined Tazewell County Sports Editor Bryan Veginski for this first-year challenge.
    The four individuals picked games throughout the 17-week regular season and four-week postseason.
    Thiry was the winner with an overall record of 169-97-1 (.635), including 8-3 in the playoffs.
    O'Neill took second place at 165-101-1 (.620), while Martin was third with a mark of 160-106-1 (.601).
    Veginski placed fourth at 157-109-1 (.590; good thing there was not a dinner bill to be paid by the last-place finisher).
    Martin was the leader from weeks three through 11. His biggest cushion was at six games, when he had a record of 86-46 after week nine.
    Thiry took over the top spot in week 12 and never relinquished it, although he was tied with O'Neill after weeks 15 and 16.
    A 12-4 mark in week 17, one better than the rest of the pickers, gave Thiry the regular-season title at 161-94-1.
    O'Neill made a big comeback, rallying from being in fourth place from weeks three through 10 to tie for first place in late December.
    He was 12 games out of first as late as week 10 at 82-63-1.
    Veginski never was higher than third place. He was permanently in fourth after a 6-10 showing in week 12.
    The best week for the quartet was No. 11 when they combined to correctly pick 47-of-56 winners, including 13-1 efforts by Thiry and O'Neill.
    The next week was the worst from a percentage standpoint when the foursome went just 26-38 with only one above .500 ledger.
    TimesNewspapers hopes readers enjoyed following the results in the year-long, friendly competition.
    — Bryan Veginski

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