CAVE JUNCTION — Illinois Valley proved it was for real Friday night.

CAVE JUNCTION — Illinois Valley proved it was for real Friday night.

The undefeated, fourth-ranked Cougars were faced with their biggest challenge of the season against Skyline Conference co-leader Henley.

Illinois Valley cleared that hurdle with an impressive 30-7 victory against the eighth-ranked Hornets.

"Defensively the kids were flying around," Illinois Valley coach Bob Thornhill said. "Our kids really played physical. We beat them up in the third quarter and were able to control the clock the whole second half."

Henley's defense was geared to stop explosive running back Larry Ragsdale, who has scored 24 touchdowns and rushed for over 1,300 yards in the Cougars' seven previous games.

The Hornets limited Ragsdale to just 48 yards, but Eric McConico, Jacob Ellis and Jesse Swift took over the workload.

Ellis and Swift each scored a pair of rushing TDs and McConico, who missed two games because of a suspension earlier this season, was IV's leading rusher with 88 yards on nine carries.

Illinois Valley (8-0, 3-0 Skyline) rushed for a season-low 245 yards.

"They were really worrying about the speed with Larry (Ragsdale) on the outside, so we went with our big runners," said Thornhill. "We rotate three backs and (McConico) is one of them. He's a big kid and one of the fastest on the team."

The Cougars defense limited the dangerous Henley passing attack to 65 yards and had two interceptions. The Hornets (5-3, 2-1 Skyline) gained 163 yards on the ground.

"The rain took the pass away from them," said Thornhill. "Whenever they tried to throw the ball long, it just fluttered out of (Matt Taylor's) hand. We give up some yards but when the field shortens, the kids really step up and make plays."

The victory puts Illinois Valley in a position to win its first Skyline Conference championship. The Cougars take over sole possession of first place in the conference standings with two games remaining. IV plays at Rogue River next Friday and hosts North Valley in the final regular-season game.

Henley 0 7 0 0 —7

Illinois Valley 0 16 0 14 —30

IV — Ellis 4 run (Ellis run)

IV — Swift 7 run (Ellis run)

H — Rosser 1 run (21 kick)

IV — Ellis 1 run (Hoskins run)

IV — Swift 1 run (run failed)

NORTH VALLEY 28, PHOENIX 7 — At Phoenix, Jake Sleight threw four touchdown passes as North Valley improved to 2-1 in the Skyline Conference and 5-2 overall.

Sleight was 7 of 11 for 165 yards with no interceptions. The Knights amassed 377 yards, with Keith Suits running for 83 yards on 13 carries and Cody Austin 82 on 12 totes. Suits scored on a 24-yard reception from Sleight.

Eric Hiler caught TD passes of 66 and 13 yards, and Brady Brummett had the other scoring catch, covering 28 yards.

Quarterback Neil Emerson of Phoenix (2-5, 1-2) injured a shoulder in the second quarter and did not return.

North Valley 7 7 6 8 —28

Phoenix 0 0 0 7 —7

NV — Hiler 66 pass Sleight (kick good)

NV — Brummett 28 pass from Sleight (kick good)

NV — Suits 24 pass from Sleight (kick failed)

NV — Hiler 13 pass from Sleight (Austin run)

P — Smith 1 run (Machado kick)

HIDDEN VALLEY 53, ROGUE RIVER 0 — At Murphy, Jules DeVos ran for 205 yards on only seven carries and Hidden Valley limited Rogue River to 35 yards, all on the ground, in the Skyline Conference game.

DeVos scored on runs of 18 and 39 yards as the Mustangs improved to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in league.

Travis Warren scored three touchdowns, including an 82-yard kickoff return to start the game. He also had scoring runs of 24 and 21 yards and finished with 67 yards on five carries.

Rogue River (0-3, 2-4) quarterback Rogue Burman injured his collarbone with six minutes left in the first half. After a lengthy delay, the game resumed with a running clock.

Rogue River 0 0 0 0 —0

Hidden Valley 20 12 15 6 —53

HV — Warren 82 kickoff return (kick failed)

HV — Warren 24 run (Warren run)

HV — Wardle 21 run (kick failed)

HV — DeVos 18 run (kick failed)

HV — Warren 38 run (kick failed)

HV — DeVos 39 run (Nielsen kick)

HV —Woodrum 8 run (Sayre pass from Wardle)

HV — Sager fumble recovery in end zone (kick failed)