Roper Leads Harrisburg to Prominence

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By WSIL Sports

HARRISBURG -- Harrisburg's three major boys sports teams -- football, basketball and baseball -- have all made a name for themselves this school year. The leader behind that success is Ryne Roper. He's living what most would consider a dream senior season.

"It's kind of all happened so fast," Roper said. "Each sport has led into the other but I think once we graduate and once summer hits we'll be able to really think about it and rehash everything we've been able to accomplish."

As quarterback of the football team, Roper led the Bulldogs to the state semifinals, finishing with an 11-2 record, the best mark in more than a decade.

In basketball, Roper was a key piece of Harrisburg's first state title in the sport, starting every game for a team that ended the year 33-1.

On the diamond, Roper leads the Bulldogs with a .400 batting average and is a perfect 8-0 on the mound.

"To be successful in all three sports you have to credit our guys that have played and the coaches," Roper said. "We have phenomenal coaches in all three sports and to do what we've been able to do is pretty special."

One of the guys who's been with Roper through it all is Justin Younger. They're the only two seniors to play football, basketball and baseball.

"It's been really good so far but the job's not done yet," Younger said. "Doing good in football and basketball is great and now we just want to keep the same thing going and do good in baseball."

"This is one of those groups that you get every 10 years, 20 years, for us maybe every 100 years," Harrisburg Athletic Director Jay Thompson said. "These guys have just been spectacular in all sports, great leaders and great kids."

Roper has won more than 200 varsity games in his career at Harrisburg. Next year he'll join his brother Reid on the University of Illinois baseball team. But not before he makes another run at a state title.

"I think if we work as a team, play as a team, then we should have a good shot."
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