Ben Koenig brings the goals for Panthers soccer team

Ben Koenig

By Annabelle Knef

O’Fallon High School boys soccer coach, Jason Turkington, speaks highly of junior Ben Koenig, whom he nominated for this week’s Athlete Spotlight.

Turkington said that the team was recently losing a game against Belleville West before Koenig scored three goals at the end of the game, which ultimately brought O’Fallon a win. 

“He nailed the hat trick and won the game for us,” Turkington said. “He’s one of our leading goal scorers of the season.” 

This season Koenig has currently accumulated nine goals, more than his freshman and sophomore year totals combined. He has also put up four assists, matching his prior year totals.

Koenig has played a couple different positions throughout the season and Turkington said that he’s been a “key part” of the team’s success. 

“He’s had a lot of success and he’s been a key part of our team,” he said. 

Turkington said that Koenig’s teammates “respect him and look up to him,” and that Koenig is “very supportive of them.”

“He does a good job in pretty much all aspects of games and practices.”

O’Fallon boy’s soccer has a record of 8-4 and will next compete away against Glenwood High School on Monday, October 1, and away again against Gibault Catholic High School in Waterloo on Wednesday, October 3. 

OTHS soccer season begins at Blue & Gold scrimmage

O’FALLON – The season began Saturday for the O’Fallon High School boys soccer team with their annual Blue & Gold scrimmage. The event began with the freshman team practicing prior to a game between the JV and Varsity squads. Following the conclusion of that game, the OTHS soccer alumni played in a friendly game.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller)

What’s happening around O’Fallon this weekend, August 17-19

There is always a lot going on in and around the O’Fallon area. Check out some of the events you just can’t miss…

For everyone… The big show this weekend is the inaugural O’Fallon City Fest, taking place Friday and Saturday in Community Park. The fun kicks off on Friday at 4 p.m. with rides, games, and wall climbing, along with food and drinks. At 5 p.m., tethered hot air balloon rides will be available, weather permitting. Then from 6-10 p.m. Boulderdash will play on the main stage.

On Saturday, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., visitors can embrace their inner gear head and enjoy a car show. Also at 8 a.m., the Biathalon 1 mile run/10 mile bike race will begin. 

Food and drink stands, rides, games, and the wall climb open at noon. From 1-3 p.m., 3rd Floor will take to the main stage.

Starting at 5 p.m., the City Fest parade will being starting on North Lincoln by Old City Hall and ending at 7th and South Lincoln, traveling straight down Lincoln Avenue.

Tethered hot air balloon rides and the Shriners Drum and Bugle Corp performance will both begin at 6 p.m. Finally, Social Remedy will play on the main stage from 7-10 p.m.

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Athlete Spotlight – Dixon balances band and soccer


Liam with his parents Bobby and Annette on Senior Night

To be a member of the O’Fallon Township High School Soccer team requires exceptional dedication and hard work.

To be a member of the OTHS Soccer team while also being a member of the OTHS Marching Panthers requires a work ethic that few possess.

For OTHS senior Liam Dixon, giving his all to both programs required little second thought, and that can-do attitude has made an impression on his teachers at the school.

“Anything that we ask of Liam, he does without any complaining,” Director of Bands Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds said. “He’s a great leader, and he leads by example with his incredible work ethic.”

To read the full article, pick up a copof this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

Panther Soccer comes out positive on tough week


The O’Fallon Panthers continuously blew by defenders during their game against Althoff on Saturday.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Sam Scinta)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Soccer team faced a full slate of tough competition this past week, hitting the pitch three times against some of the Metro East’s most talented clubs.

At home at the Panther Athletic Complex last Tuesday, the Panthers used a dominant second half scoring run to counter a pair of late Knight goals in a 4-2 win over Triad High School.

Jordan Ellis, Ben Koenig, Liam Dixon, and Dylan Gerstenecker all found the back of the net for the Blue and Gold in the win, while goalkeeper Grant Appel pitched a shutout in the first half to lead O’Fallon.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.


Athlete Spotlight – Ellis Leads the Way


Although the O’Fallon Township High School Boys Soccer team has struggled to find a consistent rhythm in the early season, at least one thing can be counted on every time the Panthers hit the pitch.

Senior star Jordan Ellis has been an absolute sensation early in 2017, grabbing the team lead in points with ten while also holding a tie for the team lead in goals with four, production that the Panthers have relied on through the first two weeks of play.

His sharp play to open the 2017 season has earned Jordan the honor of First National Bank Athlete of the Week.


To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

OTHS Soccer gets mixed results


While football opened its season on Friday evening in O’Fallon, another type of football was also gearing to go in the Metro East.

The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Soccer team started its season on a roll this past week before a pair of close contests brought the club back down to earth.

OTHS started play in the Metro East Cup against the Marion Wildcats last Tuesday, using some second half clutch to secure the club’s first win of the season.

Brothers Ben and Jake Koenig each scored for the Panthers, and the O’Fallon defense was just good enough in the second half to secure a 2-1 opening win, holding off a strong Wildcat surge.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

Panther soccer falls in regional final


soccer ball - generic RESIZEDThe up and down campaign that had been the 2016 season for the O’Fallon Township High School boys soccer team came to a difficult end on Saturday evening, falling 2-0 to Quincy at the Panther Athletic Complex.

O’Fallon, who struggled all season to find any sort of long-lasting consistency, couldn’t get much going against a swarming Quincy defense, as the Panther defense simply couldn’t replicate heroic performance in the Regional semi-final against Belleville West.

That particular Tuesday contest was among the best played among Southwestern Conference teams throughout any point in the season, as the Panthers and Maroons were locked into a tense scoreless tie until O’Fallon was able to find the shootout magic it needed to put itself in position to advance to the IHSA Sectional.

Senior Preston Porter would provide the crucial tally in the shootout, ensuring his high school career would last until the weekend.

OTHS’ days were numbered, however, as the Blue Devils made sure their 2 hour trip south was worth the drive, combining season-success with stout defense and timely offense, a recipe that often works in October.

Quincy defeated Belleville East 4-1 in the semi-final and will now play the Kahoks in the first round of Sectional play in Collinsville on Tuesday in a game that went final after this issue went to print.

“I want to thank our seniors for just being who they are,” Head Coach Jason Turkington said after the loss. “I’m really going to miss coaching and just being around them.”

“The boys worked hard and had a great season,” Turkington added. “They dealt with a lot of adversity all season-long.”

The Panthers boast a bevy of young talent, however, as the future looks bright for the Blue and Gold.

Sophomore Jordan Ellis showed flashes of explosiveness at times during the season, and freshman Ben Koenig only figures to gain from his invaluable experience as a starter.

OTHS will of course miss the contributions of a core of great seniors, as it will be impossible for the program to replace the likes of Aris Cesa and Austin Wilkerson, among others. Blake Stroh, Luke Stadts, Preston Porter, and Steth Garst also suited up for O’Fallon for the final time.

OTHS Panther Soccer closes out regular season on high note

(O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Sam Scinta)

(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Sam Scinta)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Township High School Soccer team wrapped up their 2016 regular season on Thursday night at the Panther Athletic Complex, blanking the Granite City Warriors 4-0.

On a night dedicated to OTHS Seniors, a pair of underclassmen stole the show, with freshman Ben Koenig and sophomore Jordan Ellis combining to score all four Panther goals, three of which came in the second half as the O’Fallon offense separated itself from a feisty Granite City defense.

Only one senior, Aris Cesa, registered an assist, as juniors Jake Koenig, Adrean Love, and Dylan Gerstenecker tallied the remaining thee helpers.

Senior Goalkeeper Joe Guithues made sure that the younger Panthers didn’t have all the fun, stopping all four shots that came his way in a shutout performance to close out a brilliant career. Junior Grant Appel registered six minutes in net, but did not face a shot on goal.

“It’s a great win to close out the season,” Head Coach Jason Turkington said. “But we have the postseason starting next week.”

The decisive win was a move in the right direction after a tense 1-1 draw with the Highland Bulldogs. Sophomore Caleb Engel assisted Jake Koenig for the lone Panther goal while Guithues did just about all he could in stopping seven shots from hitting the back of the net.

“We survived a test,” Turkington said after the Highland contest.

The Panthers will be the three seed at the upcoming IHSA O’Fallon Regional, which started Tuesday night. O’Fallon was matched up with six seed Belleville West in a contest that went final after this issue went to print.

Number two seed Quincy will take on seven seed Belleville East in the other game in O’Fallon on Tuesday.

“We’re trending in the right direction,” Turkington added.

OTHS Soccer enjoys big week, prepares for post-season play

Austin Wilkerson takes the ball into enemy territory during Friday night's game against SLU High. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Jeff Egbert)

Austin Wilkerson takes the ball into enemy territory during Friday night’s game against SLU High. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Jeff Egbert)

O’FALLON – The OTHS Boys Soccer has spent much of its 2016 season searching for consistency, and, after this past week, it is starting to look like they’ve found it. And not a moment too soon.

The Panthers took advantage of a full slate of games, producing positive results in each contest.

Thursday, O’Fallon traveled to Waterloo to take on Gibault, and the result was well worth the trip. The Panther defense gave the Blue and Gold all the boost they needed while their offense was able to scrape together just enough in a 1-0 decision.

Star scorer Austin Wilkerson would provide the winning tally, once again providing his team with a much-needed boost on the pitch.

“That’s a solid win over a very good Gibault team,” Head Coach Jason Turkington said. “They’re going to have a great postseason run.”

The following afternoon the Panthers played host to the Saint Louis University High Junior Billikins, and while the defensive performance wasn’t quite as stout as the previous evening, the O’Fallon offensive attack provided more than enough firepower to protect home turf.

OTHS benefited from an efficient and opportunistic effort, taking down a very talented SLU High team 4-2. Offense has been somewhat of an issue for the Panthers this season, but on Friday they found the touch.

“It’s always a great match (against SLU High),” Turkington said. “Helps us get ready for the postseason.”

The Panthers will conclude their 2016 regular season Thursday in a home conference tune-up against a talented but struggling Granite City team. The Warriors are averaging just over one goal a game and the Panther defense will look to prevent even that.

The game is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. The Panthers will then look to compete in the IHSA Regional.

Panther soccer splits week’s competition


soccer ball - generic RESIZEDO’FALLON – The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Soccer team had a pair of games this past week, and came out of the schedule with mixed results.

On Tuesday, the Panthers traveled to Belleville to take on the Maroons of Belleville West in a Southwestern Conference clash.

The contest was tight throughout, and, thanks to some poorly timed offensive miscues and stout defensive performances, was tied at zero at the halfway mark. O’Fallon senior Austin Wilkerson made sure that would not hold up, however, as he netted the tie-breaking goal in the second half.

The heroics would prove to be enough for OTHS, as the 1-0 score would hold for a Blue and Gold road win.

Thursday’s trip north to Springfield did not end on such a happy note after the Panther’s matchup against Chatham Glenwood.

The Titans came out of the gates strong with some steady offensive possession and pressure. Panther goalie Joe Guithues stymied the Glenwood assault for as long as he could until the Titans found the back of the net in the first.

O’Fallon would again struggle on offense, unable to muster the same kind of goal-scoring firepower they found last week against Marion. Glenwood would hold a shutout throughout the game, winning 1-0, leaving the Panthers to limp home again wondering where the offense went.

OTHS will return to the pitch on Thursday when they travel to Waterloo to take on Gibault Catholic. Gibault will enter the contest having won 11 of their past 12 games, with a loss at Alton breaking up their season’s longest winning streak.

Gibault will pose a number of problems for the Panthers, as they rely on the play of a stingy defense to suffocate their opponent’s offenses. O’Fallon has often struggled finding a consistent offensive rhythm this season, and the upcoming game will offer another chance to break through against a tough opponent.

Soccer Panthers find success during up and down week

Team defeats Marion High School 5-2


soccer ball - generic RESIZEDThe O’Fallon Township High School soccer team started the week off in a promising way on Monday night, topping Marion High School 5-2 at the Panther Athletic Complex.

The Panthers used an all-around dominant scoring performance to put away a Wildcat team who put forth a strong first half effort, scoring two early goals on a sluggish O’Fallon defense.

“It’s a great win over a very talented Marion squad,” Head Coach Jason Turkington said after the game. “A really well done, high powered win by our boys.”

OTHS scored two first half goals of their own, and used a much improved defensive performance in the second half to pull away from Marion. Three goals would simply prove too devastating to the Wildcats, and the Panthers would power their way to a 5-2 victory.

The win was a nice turnaround from a tough exit from the CYC Bob Guelker Memorial Soccer Tournament in Fenton, Missouri, over the past week. O’Fallon was eliminated following a 1-0 loss to a very talented Chaminade team on Thursday night.

The tough loss followed Wednesday’s 4-1 win over St. Mary’s (MO). The Panthers were glad to get a decisive victory following a hard fought 1-1 draw against Vianney on Tuesday.

O’Fallon needed some late drama in that first contest, netting the tying goal in the 75th minute. Vianney had a golden opportunity to walk out of the contest a 2-1 winner until OTHS goalkeeper Joe Guithues’ miraculous save in the final seconds to preserve the draw.

“That was a great result against a brilliant Vianney team,” Turkington said. “We had a wonderful team effort and we got better from it.”

The Panthers returned to the pitch on Tuesday night to take on the Maroons in Belleville. That contest went final after this issue went to print. O’Fallon then travels north to Springfield to take on Chatham Glenwood on Wednesday.


Panther soccer team continues to build on strong season


soccer ball - generic RESIZEDO’FALLON – As the calendar continues to count deeper into September and closer to Fall, the OTHS Boys Soccer team treads on through a tough Southwestern Conference gauntlet.

Their most recent triumph came on the road against heated rival Belleville East. The Panthers were all over the Lancers in this one, scoring early and often in a convincing 5-1 rout in Belleville.

Junior Nathan Martin tallied a goal and an assist, while fellow juniors Adrean Love (one goal) and Mason Macias (one assist) also contributed to the scoring. Sophomore Jordan Ellis found the back of the net as well, while seniors Aris Cesa and Preston Porter each scored goals of their own. Cesa would add three assists to go along with his goal total, giving him by far the best performance of the evening.

Lancer senior Terrance Puribhat scored the lone East goal in the first half, as the Panther defense was simply too much for an overpowered offense.

“This is a solid win for us tonight,” Head Coach Jason Turkington said after the game. “These guys continue to get better every day.”

The match against the Lancers would serve as a tune-up for the 62nd Annual CYC/Bob Guelker Soccer Tournament played in Fenton, Missouri. The Panthers represent the only Southwestern Conference program in the tournament.

O’Fallon’s first game of the tournament took place on Tuesday against (St. Louis) Vianney. The match went final after this issue went to print. OTHS will play again on Wednesday against (St. Louis) St. Mary’s, and then again on Thursday against (St. Louis) Chaminade.

The top four points will advance to bracket play starting on Friday, with the title game being played the following evening. Games start at 6 o’clock each day, and are played at St. Louis Soccer Park in Fenton.

Panther soccer finds success against tough competition


soccer ball - generic RESIZEDOne thing coaches want to do when preparing a team for a deep playoff run is to schedule as many games against top competition as possible. This allows the players to gain valuable regular season experience against upper tier opponents, which can prove invaluable once the State Playoffs open up.

O’Fallon Head Boys Soccer Coach Jason Turkington made it a point to challenge his 2016 squad with a challenging stretch of contests early on in the campaign, and this past week featured perhaps the toughest challenges yet.

The Panthers rebounded from  heartbreaking 2-1 losses to Triad and Edwardsville by giving national power St. Xavier (Louisville) all they could handle in working a scoreless 0-0 tie in a game played at Saint Louis University High School.

Dropping the game to the Tigers put the Panthers at 0-1 to open Southwestern Conference play, making the late goal that much harder to swallow for OTHS. O’Fallon rallied to tie the score at 1 in the 69th  minute only for Edwardsville to muster an opportunity of their own in taking the final 2-1 lead with just under four minutes to play.

“That was a great result [against St. Xavier] for us,” Turkington said. “We had a great 2nd half [against Triad] the other night and got better despite the late loss. It’s been an encouraging week despite the results, though.”

O’Fallon finished its gauntlet of four games in one week (including three games in three days) with maybe its best result in beating a very talented Springfield Glendale squad to round out the holiday weekend tournament at SLU High.

The Panthers continue Southwestern Conference play with a road test against the Kahoks of Collinsville at 6:30 on Tuesday. The contest goes final after this issue goes to print. O’Fallon then takes home field advantage into a bout against the conference rival Alton Redbirds on Thursday at 6:45 at the Panther Athletic Complex.

Boys soccer finding early season stride

Storm delays Metro Cup championship game until possibly October


soccer ball - generic RESIZED   The annual Metro Cup is a highly competitive early season tournament that features many of the area’s best soccer teams, and O’Fallon has looked every bit the part of an elite squad during the tournament in recent years.

The defending champions got off to a roaring start in this year’s Cup, soundly defeating a talented Mater Dei squad 3-1 in preliminary play on Tuesday night for O’Fallon’s first win of the season.

The Panthers returned to the pitch on Thursday to take on a deep and skilled Marion team that pestered the O’Fallon charges all night. What few quality chances OTHS would get, Head Coach Jason Turkington knew they would have to convert.

Turkington would get the conversions he was looking for when Aris Cesa and Austin Wilkerson found the back of the net, providing all the scoring the Panthers would need to secure the 2-1 semifinal victory.

The win would move O’Fallon to the Metro Cup Championship Game, supposed to have been played at Belleville West on Saturday night against Springfield, but the game was postponed due to lightning in the area. No official reschedule has been decided upon, but the game isn’t expected to take place for about a month due to scheduling and geographical conflicts.

The Panther’s took on Triad High School on Tuesday August 30th, but the game went final after this issue went to print. The Panthers were 2-0 at the time of the contest, Triad was 3-2. The Panthers will take on the Tigers in Edwardsville on Thursday, September 1st at 6:30.