Coming Dec. 23 to CSN: 'Rocky Clark, The Legacy Lives On'

966937.png

Coming Dec. 23 to CSN: 'Rocky Clark, The Legacy Lives On'

It was one play that changed Rocky Clark's life forever. One play that not only affected lives of those close to Clark, but high school athletes to come as well. Tune into Comcast SportsNet on Dec. 23 for the premiere of "Rocky Clark: The Legacy Lives On".

Back in September of 2011, a promising 16-year old high school running back had no idea his life would change forever as he ran onto the field. When Rocky Clark began that matchup against Oak Forest High School, he didn't know he was just one tackle away from two broken vertebrae in his neck and a devastating spinal cord injury that would change his life forever.

"I never saw how this happened," Rocky's coach Greg Walder said about the injury. "I can see the play in my head. It is a normal tackle. There were ten hits in that game that were more vicious than that hit. I don't know how it happened."

But it did happen. And yet it wasn't enough to take away Rocky's faith and determination. With his mother Annette by his side, Rocky went on to graduate from Eisenhower High School. He even attended junior college at South Suburban College and helped coach his old high school football team, all while receiving constant medical attention.

In 2010, his story became a national headline after his school's 5 million insurance policy reached its cap.

"I got the letter. It was a two-sentence letter. It said Rocky's insurance was gone," Annette explained. "I let things upset me and he wouldn't. I said the nurse care is gone now. When he sees me upset, he would tell me 'it's going to be alright', but he thought he would be taken care of for the rest of his life."

Just 16 months later, Rocky passed away at the age of 27.

"(Rocky) said, 'Mama... I love you' and I said 'I love you too,'" Annette recalls of her son's final days. "I talked to the lord and I had asked him many times before to let me have him because he would have been gone and he would give him right back to me, but this time was for Rocky to go ahead on and I said to the lord 'thy will be done.'

My son had to get hurt and die to try to make a point. That makes me angry every time I think about it. My children were supposed to bury me."

Although his time on Earth was lost far too soon, Rocky's story and the determination he showed even in the hardest of times left a stronger impact in just his 27 years than many do in a lifetime.

"He was a guy you could go up to and talk to," Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett recalled. "He would tell you the whole incident, about his life. He's one of those guys that just moved me when I spoke to him."

Now you can remember and celebrate Rocky's life on Comcast SportsNet with special airings on Dec. 23 at 7:00 p.m., Dec. 25 at 9:30 p.m., Dec. 31 at 9:00 p.m., and Jan. 5 and 7 at 7:00 p.m.

31 Days to Kickoff: Minooka

31 Days to Kickoff: Minooka

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26. You can view Edgy Tim's other football previews here.

School: Minooka

Head coach: Paul Forsythe

Assistant Coaches: Bert Kooi, Frank Yudzentis, Paige Schoolman, Matt Harding, Mic Resner

How they fared in 2015: 5-5 (3-4) Southwest Prairie Conference. Minooka made the 2015 Class 8A state playoff field and lost to Huntley in opening round action.

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Indians get back to the state playoffs and advance?

Names to watch this season: QB Johnny Carnagio, WR/DB Isaiah Hill

Biggest holes to fill: The Indians will need to replace it's entire starting defensive line from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: With 13 starters back (8 offense 5 defense) from it's 2015 state playoff team the Indians have high hopes this fall. The pass/catch combo of QB Carnagio to WR Hill is one of the tops in the conference. If Minooka can find a few answers up front on defense they could make a return state playoff push.

Former North Lawndale star Jonathan Mills killed in shooting

jonathan-mills-07-25-16.jpg

Former North Lawndale star Jonathan Mills killed in shooting

Former local high school basketball star Jonathan Mills was shot to death on Monday in North Lawndale, a source confirmed to CSN.

A Class 2A state champion and city champion who played high school ball at North Lawndale and college basketball at Southern Miss, Mills was shot multiple times in the 4100 block of West Roosevelt at 1:27 p.m., police told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The 26-year-old Mills was pronounced dead at the scene. He is survived by two daughters. 

Mills became a West Side legend in Chicago basketball circles as one of the hardest-working rebounders the city has seen in the last decade. Taking North Lawndale to two state semifinals and winning a Class 2A state championship in 2008, the 6-foot-5 lefty wasn't particularly skilled as an undersized forward, but he was relentless in his pursuit of the ball and a rugged defender.

In his first varsity season at North Lawndale as a junior, Mills averaged 16.8 points and 13.7 rebounds per game as he led the Phoenix in rebounding 31 of 33 games during a state title run. In a Class 2A sectional title game against Englewood, Mills had a legendary performance as he had 22 points and 23 rebounds in a two-point win. 

During his senior season, Mills averaged 14 points and 13 rebounds per game in helping the Phoenix win the school's first city championship. Beating Hyde Park in overtime for the city title, Mills had 13 points and 23 rebounds in a 54-51 win as he secured the game-clinching rebound off of teammate Terry Johnson's missed free throw. 

After playing two years of junior college ball at Eastern Utah, Mills played his final two seasons of college basketball at Southern Miss in Conference USA. Mills earned third-team All-Conference USA honors as a junior while also making the All-Defensive Team as he averaged 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. During his senior year, Mills was once again on the Conference USA All-Defensive Team as he put up 9.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

On Monday, Twitter was filled with memories of Mills from coaches, players and reporters that watched him play. 

CSN to televise, live stream IHSAA State Championship Tournaments

ihsaa.jpg

CSN to televise, live stream IHSAA State Championship Tournaments

Beginning this scholastic year, CSN Chicago and the Iowa High School Sports Network will team up to bring viewers in-depth coverage of the Iowa High School Athletic Association's (IHSAA) State Championship Tournaments.

The partnership gives audiences access to over 85 hours of live football, wrestling and basketball coverage. 

All IHSAA events will be broadcasted in high definition and available via live stream at csnchicago.com. 

The 2016-2017 season will kickoff on Aug. 25 with the 4th annual Channel Seed Ag Bowl between the Northeast Rebels and Central Dewitt Sabers. 

Check out the full broadcast schedule here.