The Robinson Maroons look to improve in 2011, in the their last year in the Apollo Conference. Coach Tim Nolen barely missed the playoffs with a 4-5 record last season. Next year they will be moving to the large division of the new expanded Little Illini Conference along with Apollo conference foes Newton and Olney - East Richland. The task of making the playoffs will not be easy with Mt. Zion adding a Hall of Fame coach in Scott Davis from Decatur St. Teresa. Charleston and Effingham are going to be in the mix towards the top of the conference. Nolen's record of 10-18 in three years is showing improvement in a program that has had previous success. That 10-18 overall mark is skewed by the first season's record of 1-8, as he has been 9-10 since then.
Quality Players Return
Last year's squad returns 8 starters on offense and 7 starters on defense with a total of 13 seniors among 45 varsity players. That is a good amount of returning starters that seen victory in their first four games. At the top of the list of returning players is Bill Knust (QB/LB) and Ryder Brannon (RB/LB). Knust is a true athlete at 6'2 - 190 lb that was first team All Apollo Conference on defense at Linebacker as a junior. Brannon was a second team selection on offense as a RB. The line is strong up front with Kyle Albaugh and Morgan Zellers. Both are six foot and over two hundred and fifty pounds. Eli Wright, Paul Ackman, and Alex Chan will contribute as returning starters.
Schedule - Final year in the Apollo
As mentioned, this is the last year in the Apollo but because the way the new LIC will be setup, they will most likely end up playing Newton and Olney next year as well. The new LIC will have two cross-over games and it looks like the Marshall match-up this year might have a chance at being a reoccurring game. The Lawrenceville non-conference game is another LIC opponent. The two toughest games of the year will be Mt. Zion and Marshall and their schedule gets much harder as the year progresses. Last year they started unbeaten through four game, only to face a harder schedule the last five games against teams with winning records. Coach Nolen has some new faces lining up against him this year with four new coaches. New coaches have been hired at Mt Zion, Olney, Salem, and Lawrenceville.
|Little Illini Games of the Week - Week 1|
|Fri 7:00 - Olney-East Richland @ Columbia|
|Fri 7:00 - Lawrenceville @ Robinson|
|Fri 7:00 - Red Hill @ Casey-Westfield|
|Fri 7:00 - Cumberland @ Flora|
|Fri 7:00 - Marshall @ Edwards County|
|Fri 7:00 - Oblong @ Palestine|
|Sat 2:00 - Prairie Central @ Newton|