ARTHUR (WCIA) — It would have been easy to assume Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond would regress this season without Kaden Feagin.

“Back in November of 2022, everybody probably thought, ‘Oh ALAH is going to go down again,'” ALAH head coach Ryan Jefferson said.

But even without Feagin, who is now an Illinois freshman running back, the Knights are 7-0, their best start in 20 seasons.

“It’s really sweet,” ALAH junior offensive lineman Jacob Tighe said. “It’s a chip on your shoulder that makes you play harder every week.”

“We’re more than Kaden Feagin,” ALAH senior quarterback Jayce Parsons said. “When you have a player like him, of course he’s going to shine and he got a lot of the offensive work load. Now we’re just a really balanced team and we’re kicking butt.”

And one of the reasons for the great start is Parsons. The Knights had to replace 59 percent of their total yards and 61 percent of their touchdowns with Feagin leaving, and even more when accounting for all 11 graduated seniors.

“There’s a lot of ball to share now,” Parsons said. “We’re all just doing our job and winning games.”

“I think he learned a lot from Kaden last year where if the play breaks down, the ball’s in your hands for a reason,” added Jefferson. “You’re a special athlete, so go do something with it.”

Parsons and the Knights need wins in the final two weeks of the regular season for their first conference championship since 2004, and just up the road in Champaign, one of their biggest fans is watching closely. Feagin says he’s already making plans to attend the team’s playoff game that conveniently falls on the Illini’s bye week.

“I’m definitely proud of them,” Feagin said about the Knights. “I’ve talked to Coach Jefferson. Just seeing Jayce and Landon, all of them have great seasons, is great to see.”

To guarantee a playoff home game later this month and continue its banner year, ALAH need to beat Arcola in the Friday Football Fever Spotlight Game of the Week.