Two-thirds of the way through the prep football season, only one local team is in a truly good position to make the playoffs, but everyone is (theoretically) alive.
What’s happened: Following a 28-0 rout of Sandwich in Week 5, the Coalers played even for a half with a one-loss Plano team Friday night, but a nightmarish third quarter resulted in a 35-14 loss and a 3-3 record to date.
What’s coming: Of the 43 teams that the IHSA projects to be in Class 4A that have a record equal to or better than Coal City, 17 have more opponents’ wins than the Coalers’ 25; 22 have fewer. Four 3-3 teams that are projected to go 4A have more; eight have 25 or fewer. It’s possible that a 5-4 Coal City team could make the playoffs, but the Coalers would certainly rather erase any doubt. To do that, they’ll have to knock off a 4-2 Peotone team that has outscored its last two opponents 53-0 in Week 7 before closing the season with winnable games against Westmont and Reed-Custer.
What’s happened: Two tough home losses – to Plainfield East, 37-27, and to Plainfield South, 41-37, in a game Minooka led 34-27 after three quarters – leave the Indians with their backs to the wall.
What’s coming: The good news for the Indians is that their remaining games – at 4-2 Oswego East and home to 3-3 Plainfield North and 3-3 Romeoville – are against opponents who are at .500 or below in the Southwest Prairie Conference. Their schedule gets easier, and winning out isn’t impossible. The bad news is it might not be enough. Minooka has 27 playoff points. It is projected as an 8A team. There are 46 other teams with two or more wins that are currently projected to go 8A, and of them, 27 have more playoff points than do the Indians. An awful lot needs to go Minooka’s way.
What’s happened: Following a tough 14-6 loss to Yorkville in Week 5, the Redskins hung tough for three quarters with unbeaten Sycamore on Friday before losing 43-21 and dropping to 2-4 overall.
What’s coming: Obviously this Friday’s game at DeKalb is a must-win for the Redskins to have any shot at the playoffs, but 3-3 DeKalb probably needs a win, too, to keep its very real playoff hopes alive. After that, Morris will host 5-1 Rochelle, which has lost only to undefeated Kaneland, and Kaneland itself in the final two weeks. It seems likely that Morris is headed for its first losing season since 2000, but the Sycamore game could at least provide hope of a strong finish to a tough season.
What’s happened: The Fighting Irish bounced back big from their first loss of the year, 14-6 at Wilmington, by defeating a Reed-Custer team that had won two of its last three by a 50-20 final Friday night.
What’s coming: All Seneca must do to make its first playoff berth since 2001 a reality, is defeat an 0-6 Dwight team that has been outscored 234-35 on the season. Its final two I-8 crossover games are now looking easier than they once did. Herscher, which Seneca will host in Week 8, is 2-4, and it was a winner Friday over Seneca’s final opponent, Manteno, which has lost three straight. Not only does a sixth win look very likely for the Irish, winning out isn’t out of the question. Doing so should allow the Irish to play their first playoff game in 12 years on their home field.