Boys bowling team proves to be a force to be reckoned with

The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Bowling Team has had an exciting and grueling past couple of weeks, proving they are a force to be reckoned with. They have pride in their team and their school and it shows on the lanes.

This past Saturday, December 29, 2018, they hosted the 2019 Panther Team Challenge at St. Clair Bowl. They have been hosting the tournament for over ten years.  

This year 40 high school boys bowling teams from all over the state competed for first-place in the last bowing tournament of 2018. Usually high school bowling bowls on what is called a ‘house shot’, a typical shot shared by most bowling alleys. But this tournament was played on a ‘sport shot’ which is much more challenging for the bowlers. Sport shots are typically seen at the collegiate and PBA levels of bowling. 

Some local teams that bowled in the tournament consisted of Collinsville, Mascoutah, Columbia, Belleville East, Belleville West, Freeburg, Althoff, Triad, Cahokia, and Lebanon. But some northern Illinois teams, some driving more than five hours, also vied for the title: Harlem, Hononegah, Rockford Christian, and Rockford Boylan.  

O’Fallon entered three teams in the challenge. Team O’Fallon Gold consisted of Donny Richards, Ryan Komm, Josh Herran, Aiden Toohey and Kameron Rachell.  Team O’Fallon Blue consisted of Caleb Horton, Larry Carter, Jonathan Brewer, Kolson Mendelson and Jordan Peacock. Team O’Fallon White consisted of Aidan Keen, Jacob Horton, Ethan Hoerner, Benjamin Hall, Nolan Hall and Michael Cottom.

The day started with three full games from each of the teams. Notable individual scores for O’Fallon were Ryan Komm with a 256, Kameron Rachell with a 241 and Donny Richards with a 216. After the first three games O’Fallon Gold was in fifth place, O’Fallon Blue in eighth place and O’Fallon White in 37th. 

The next part of the challenge consisted of four blocks of Baker games. In a Baker bowling game each individual bowler bowls two frames of one game. The teams bowled four games within each block. A running total of pins from the individual scores and baker games seeded the teams for the finals. The field was cut to the top eight teams. O’Fallon Gold was in fourth place in the cut. O’Fallon Blue finished the challenge in a respectable 12th place and O’Fallon White ended in 33rd. 

Coach Mike Imes was impressed how the players were able to adjust with the lane conditions. The oil on the lanes would break down and was an entirely different shot than the beginning of the tournament. 

At this point in the tournament, the remaining teams bowled in a bracket format. Each team bowled two baker games against their opponent, total pins determining the winner. Winning team only advanced. In the first tier of the bracket O’Fallon Gold bowled against Mascoutah beating them by 51 pins in the two baker games. Moving up in the bracket they played Harlem next, besting them by only five pins. Now advancing to the final tier of the bracket they bowled Columbia winning by 30 pins. 

This is the first time the O’Fallon Boys have won the Panther Challenge.  

At the end of the day coach Mike Imes stated “When you face two of the top teams in the state, Harlem and Hononegah, and win it makes you feel good heading into the last week of your conference matches then into Regionals.” 

Captain Donny Richards said “It was great to win our own tournament my senior year. We bowled as a team. We helped each other and made adjustments as the lanes broke down. I’m proud to be part of such a great team.”

Earlier last week on Christmas Day the O’Fallon boys drove up to Rockford to spend Christmas night as a team in order to bowl in the Boylan Invitational at Park Lanes on December 26. 

This tournament had a similar format that consisted of three individual games from the 5-man teams and then the rest of the games were baker format. The O’Fallon boys’ varsity team consisted of Donny Richards, Ryan Komm, Jordan Peacock, Josh Herran, Kameron Rachell, and Aiden Toohey. After the three individual games O’Fallon was in fourth place. 

Notable high school for O’Fallon were Justin Peacock with a 232 and 216, Kameron Rachell with a 228, Aiden Toohey with a 227, Josh Herran with a 214, Donny Richards with a 210 and Ryan Komm with a 205.  

After the 3 individual games and 21 baker games the field was cut to the top 5 teams. O’Fallon was in fifth place going into the final step-ladder finals. In the step-ladder format the winning team only advances to play the next team above them in the ladder. O’Fallon faced Collinsville first beating them by an impressive 83 pins. Next, they faced Rockford Auburn. The boys but up a strong fight but fell short by 6 pins. 

The Panthers finished fourth overall in the tournament. Harlem finished first in the tournament. O’Fallon entered a second team as well but despite their best effort they did not make it into the finals.

In Conference play O’Fallon is undefeated with a record of 8-0 to date. They bowl two more conference matches to end the regular season. Monday January 7th, they have a home match at St. Clair Bowl against Alton. Then on Wednesday January 9th they have an away match at Camelot Bowl against Collinsville. At the end of next week on Saturday January 12th is Regionals at West Park Bowl in Columbia. Please come out and support your O’Fallon High School Boys Bowling team!