Nashville’s back at state after fourth quarter thriller, topping St. Teresa 37-35

It was loud after the first onside kick was recovered — even louder after the second. But when the Eduardo Garibay kick sailed through the goal posts as the last seconds ticked and the possibility of another week was no longer in doubt, it was downright explosive.

The Nashville Hornets secured their spot at the Class 2A championship game this week in a way that couldn’t have been better scripted. Down by more than a touchdown throughout the entire second half, the Hornets brought the heat on both sides of the ball to pull ahead and beat the St. Teresa Decatur Bulldogs in a heart-stopper, 37-35.

“It was a beautiful moment and the most important kick of my life,” Garibay said. 

Nashville scored first with a 19-yard pass from Kolten Gajewski to Connor Gladson with 3:40 in the first quarter. That would prove to be the only Hornet lead up until the final moments as St. Teresa scored twice within a minute of each other, including a 16-yard pick 6 touchdown. 

Gladson would even the score at 14-14 on a 5-yard touchdown run with 3:37 left in the half. But the Bulldogs answered back with a 5-yard run in on their own from senior Denim Cook.

The Hornets continued to trail 35-21 with 8:26 left in the fourth quarter. But the next drive would change the entire dynamic of the game, starting first with Gladson running in a 29-yard touchdown and put Nashville back within a possession.

After his PAT, Garibay then pulled off the first onside kick with Gladson recovering the ball at the Hornet 48.

On a third-and-ten, Gajewski found Isaac Turner for a doozy of a 52-yard touchdown. But after Garibay’s kick was blocked, Nashville still found itself behind, 35-34, with 5:22 remaining.

The second miracle kick from the sophomore transfer student from Mexico came at 5:21 when Turner took the ball from a Bulldog player and Hornet Field erupted in jubilation.

While that drive did not produce anything on the scoreboard, Nashville was not ready to call it quits yet. A stifling Hornet defense remained consistent in the crucial final minutes. Quintin Loquasto tackled Cook when he was one yard short of a first down, which turned the ball back to the Hornets at their own 35 with 1:32 left in the game. 

Nashville would take five plays on the Hornets’ next possession to set up at the Bulldogs 38 before Gajewski spiked the ball to keep the clock and the season from dwindling down. The quarterback teamed up with Turner again for a 21-yard pass up the middle.

It is no doubt that the  fantastic fourth quarter will go down as one of the most thrilling moments in school history. With just 5.7 seconds left, Garibay had his “beautiful moment” with the 24-yard field goal, and the Hornets broke up a deep pass to Tre Spence to make the storybook ending complete.

The kick heard ’round Nashville: Eduardo Garibay’s 24-yard field goal wins the game.

Gajewski finished 23 of 33 passes for 205 yards and two touchdown passes. 

“We like being the underdog,” Gajewski said. “We were two years ago and we were almost the entire time here. No one really expects us.”

Gajewski, who was on the sidelines and “praying to God,” said he knew how special the season was from the very beginning.

“People have been asking me even before the season what kind we are going to have this year,” he said. “I said we are going to go to state and we are going to win it. With the kind of caliber of team that we have, it is amazing to come out here for the fans. The fans are incredible.”

Head Coach Steve Kozuszek said knowing that his team would be in for a battle, he is grateful that the Hornets are getting a chance to once again play in the title game.

“It is hard to put into words,” Kozuszek said. “Just so proud of the kids. Relief also comes to mind. Coming into the game, nobody wanted to let anybody down. Our coaching staff wanted to do it for the kids and for the town. Luckily, you couldn’t have scripted it any better.”

Nashville is back in the Class 2A championship in hopes of winning the first state championship in school history.

Gladson led with 127 yards rushing on 34 carries and three touchdowns. Turner caught a total of 11 passes for 128 yards and also had a couple of touchdowns.

Now on an 11-game winning streak, the Hornets will suit up once more for the state championship game on Friday at Huskie Stadium at 1 p.m. 

First Quarter Gallery

Second Quarter Gallery

Third Quarter Gallery

Fourth Quarter Gallery

Postgame Gallery

Crowd Photos


NCHS sends off Class of 2021

We want to to acknowledge everything you have accomplished so far and remind you ,,,

this is only the beginning.

Mark begando
Nashville Community High School Principal

Nashville Community High School celebrated its 134th graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 23, at Assembly Hall with a commencement event for the class of 2021.

The celebration included a performance from the NCHS Choir, which sang “From Now On.” There was also a special video presentation with words of wisdom and advice from NCHS faculty and staff.


Relive some of the moments of the 2021 football season

The Standard had the privilege of standing on the sidelines during the Hornets’ spring football season. We were glad to capture these moments for the team, family, friends and community. Here is a link to a Google drive photo album.


We hope you enjoy them and we look forward to bringing more local coverage.

-The Standard Staff

Leah Williams, Charles Guffey.


What to do this weekend: March 25-28

Thursday, March 25: NCHS Hornette Softball fundraiser at Dairy Queen 5-9 p.m.

Culinary Arts Warrior Showcase, Rend Lake College, 6 p.m. (reservations required)

Friday, March 26: Addieville Community Club Fish Fry, 5-7 p.m.

Okawville American Legion Fish Fry, 5-8 p.m.

Saturday, March 27: Easter Bunny visit at Nashville Chamber of Commerce office, 9 a.m. to noon.

Easter in the Park, Okawville, 3 p.m.

St. Ann YCC Mostaccioli Dinner, 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 28: Hoyleton Firefighters Association Drive Thru Chicken Dinner, Hoyleton Community Club. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Heritage House Museum WurstMarkt, 3 p.m.


New online publication strives to bring factual, multimedia coverage to Southern Illinois

A new blog aims to bring factual and visual coverage to Southern Illinois.

The Standard (www.thestandard.press) launched in January 2021. It was started by like-minded journalists who want to bring back a stripped down version of today’s events while still representing the heart of the community. Our staff has more than 20 years of experience. We believe in just-the-facts, digital first kind of reporting. We want to be the place where you come to find out what is locally going on around you.

Some of he regular features that we are wanting to bring to the conversation include breaking news, weekly COVID-19 updates, This Week In History column, thorough features and think-pieces. Other special projects and entrepreneurial reports will be announced.

We hope that you enjoy the work we have poured into this blog. Follow us on our social media channels. Have a news tip? Email us directly at thestandard618@gmail.com.

– The Standard

Wesselmann signs with McKendree Univerisity

Abby Wesselmann is continuing her athletic career by becoming a Bearcat.

Wesselmann, who just finished her sophomore year at Rend Lake College, recently signed her letter of intent to play beach volleyball for McKendree University.

“I am so excited to keep my athletic career going,” Wesselman said. “It was always my plan to continue my academics going I just wasn’t sure where that was going to happen.”

Wesselmann was a top-performing defense specialist for the Warriors during her time at Rend Lake. She particularly shined during her sophomore year, placing seventh in the nation in digs per set (6.16) and eighth in total digs with 715. She was also selected for the NJCAA All-Region 24 Second Team.

Warriors Head Coach Reggie Bateman said Wesselmann has been a key player throughout her time at RLC. The team had one of its most successful years in recent memory, going 19-12 and 8-6 in conference play. It was the first winning season in 15 years.

“Wess is a floor general,” Bateman said. “She takes care of the defense. She tells everyone which way it is going and will dive through a wall for you. She’s a hustler and floor captain.”

This year marks the first time for McKendree University to offer the beach volleyball program.

“This is an exciting time for McKendree Athletics as the emergence of beach volleyball at the collegiate level continues to grow at a rapid rate and we’re excited to be able to add the sport to our intercollegiate athletics program here at McKendree and also to the Metro East area,” McKendree University Director of Athletics Anthony Francis said during the announcement last December. “I’m very confident that our new beach volleyball program will be a fit here at McKendree and will be able to succeed in conjunction with our current women’s indoor volleyball program.”

Wesselmann said she looks forward to continuing her career, earning her bachelor’s degree and finding her place in the world.

“One of the most important lessons would be to never have self doubt,” she said. “You are on the court for a reason, the teams needs you to be there mentally so you never have anytime to doubt yourself.”

Wesselmann added that what she has loved about playing is the competition and the opportunity to rise to the occasion.

“My favorite thing about the game would be the speed and competition you play against,” she said. “College ball is the real deal, everyone that is playing is on the court for a reason. Competition is always my favorite because the games are always so high intense and close.”

Abby Wesselmann center signs her letter of intent to play volleyball for McKendree University. with her parents Brian and Jamie Wesselmann and Rend Lake College Head Coach Reggie Bateman.

Gallery: NCHS Class of 2022 graduation

Nashville Community High School honored its senior class on Sunday, May 22, with a commencement ceremony held in a nearly packed Assembly Hall.

The commencement had messages of hope and inspiration. The ceremony included a special song selection performed by the NCHS choir. “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John was chosen as a way to remark on the challenges from the past several years. NCHS Principal Mark Begando remarked how this year’s class was a “resilient one.”

Check out our gallery below from the commencement, and congratulations to the Class of 2022!

Nashville Middle School promotes Class of 2022

Nashville Middle School held a graduation ceremony on Friday, May 20, to promote its eighth grade class.

The commencement, held in the primary school gym, featured several presentations, including the announcement of honor students, the President’s Education Awards and the leadership awards.

The class recognized five valedictorians: Emma Behrmann, Ramon Santiago, Isabelle Schmale, Grace Stein and Brynn Stiegman. The class salutatorian was Jadyn Dees.

Click through our gallery from the graduation, and congratulations to the Class of 2022!

Washington County finds homes for 32 local pets in April

What started as a goodbye gift for a parting animal love resulted in several local pets finding a home.

The Washington County Animal Control reported that 30 dogs and two cats were adopted in April. Dana Antoine and her husband Nic donated the funds to cover the adoptions fees, which totaled $900, according to an article in the Nashville News.

“We owe her a huge Thank You! Thank you for the 3 years of hard work and dedication that she gave to us and Thank You for this amazing going away gift!” the shelter said in a post.

A going away party for the Antoine family will be held on Sunday, May 15, at Nashville Memorial Park pavilion. 4, beginning at 1 p.m.

Tri-M to host Popalooza event at NCHS

Poplooza music concert will bring a fun and festive event to the Nashville Community High School this weekend.

The carnival is from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14, in the back parking lot and pavilion, and is sponsored by Tri-M. There will be face painting, arcade games, carnival games and bounce houses. Live music will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Baldy’s Barbecue will also be catering.

Where I Came From: Rosemary Evans-Marcrum

Editor’s note: Where I Came From is a new feature column highlighting specific small town success stories. For some, growing up in a smaller community helped shape them who they are. For others, it was the catalyst that helped them seek bigger and better things. This column will function as a space to tell those stories and the impact of those origin stories.

Rosemary Evans-Marcrum is at the forefront of the future as a professional engineer.

“I get to work with some of the most extraordinary people and projects that I have never done before,” she said. “I get to learn and touch new advanced technology right at my fingertips.”

She works for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a high clearance position with artificial intelligence and specifically . She said while she cannot say specifics, much of what the world as everyone knows it now will be completely different.

“It’s going to change a lot of how things are done around the world,” she said. “The world in 2030 will never be the same!”

When it comes to her introduction to school, Evans-Marcum credits her desire to learn from her parents. She said she learned a lot from her mother, who worked as a school teacher in the 1950s. She studied at home and learned about math, reading, writing and social studies.

Growing up in Southern Illinois in the 70s, Evans-Marcrum But when she first went to Sandoval Grade School, she was placed in a special education class. When her parents found out that they placed her there without testing, they called to immediately correct the situation.

“They removed me and put me in a much more proper class that I needed,” she said. 

But that wasn’t the first and only time that she felt like she was held back. She said she often felt ostracized by those around her.

“A lot of the teachers were very discriminating against students that didn’t come from families of the area,” Evans-Marcum said. “I grew bitter over time and just decided to get myself out… There were only a couple of teachers that I had respect for and that’s it.” 

Evans-Marcrum left Sandoval in 1985 after her mother passed away and promised not to look back. Moving to St. Louis in hopes of becoming an electrical engineer, she found that college was a breeze, and eventually worked her way to her position at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.

The MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, MA, is federally funded through the US Department of Defense and its purpose is to apply advanced technology to handle national security problems.

Evans-Marcrum is now married to wife Christy Evans and they have a 6-year-old daughter who is already showing signs of being a gifted student.

“I have a beautiful and wonderful family,” she said. “Amelia Rose goes to Carlton Innovation School. She’s advanced in math by one year. She is in first grade but takes a second grade math class. She is starting to advance in reading now as well.” 

Evans-Marcrum is planning on earning her master’s degree in electrical engineering. She is also on the Salem First Church Standing Committee in Salem, MA, a Unitarian Universalist church that welcomes all to come and worship.

Looking back on where she grew up, Evans-Marcrum said she hopes better for those who grow up in small towns and would like to see more resources in science and mathematics.

“I’m still a Midwestern girl!” she said. “The Midwest is our bread and butter. We need to built it back up to standards, otherwise we’ll never have what they have had many years ago.”

Her advice for students who want to pursue a career in technology is to keep pushing and stay on top of what is changing in this world.

“Don’t be afraid to leap into technology,” she said. “Women in technology now have several programs to help them succeed… Technology has changed the way we live now, which all of us should better understand it. To better succeed in understanding is to work with it.”

Mt. Vernon woman identified as body found in vehicle fire

Washington County Coroner Mark Styninger said Friday that his office has made positive identification of a body found in a vehicle fire in Radom earlier this week.

Styninger said in a Facebook post that through dental records, the body was found Wednesday afternoon in a vehicle near St. Michael’s Cemetery was to be Genevieve Barciszewski, 75, of Mt. Vernon. Barciszewski was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:21 p.m.

An autopsy was conducted in O’Fallon Thursday, and Styninger said a cause of death has yet to be determined pending the results of other tests.

The investigation is ongoing. Agencies involved include the coroner’s office, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Ilinois State Police Crime Scene Investigation as well as the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s Office.

Sheriff: Fatality reported in car fire Tuesday

Authorities are investigating a vehicle fire reported Tuesday afternoon near St. Michael’s Cemetery in Radom that resulted in the death of one individual.

Washington County Sheriff Len Campbell said in a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon that the identity of the person discovered at the scene has yet to be determined. The incident was reported to the sheriff’s office at 1:19 p.m. The Ashley Fire Protection District responded and handled the fire call.

Firefighters were called to St Michael’s Cemetery in Radom for a vehicle fire.

The sheriff’s office is reportedly receiving assistance from the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigations Unit, the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Washington County Coroner.

Campbell said the investigation is in the preliminary stages and more details will be released at a later date.

The Standard will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

Nashville District 49 to dismiss early Wednesday

In anticipation of severe storm weather Wednesday afternoon, Nashville District 49 has announced that it will be dismissing school at 1:30 p.m.

District 49 Superintendent Mike Brink said in a parent letter said buses will start loading at that time and children will be available for pickup at 1:45 p.m. Brink said there has been reported an elevated risk of potential tornadoes large hail and winds up to 80 miles per hour throughout the day.

The main risk time for the county is between 3 and 7 p.m.

Junior Hornets will be in operation until 5:30 p.m., Brink said, but the school asks to not pick up children if the weather gets too bad.