All eyes are still on the Friday night prize
Two weeks ago, I took a team-by-team look at the prep football season.
Here’s an update for Weeks 3 and 4.
What’s happened: Following a heartbreaking 22-21 loss to Manteno in their Interstate Eight Conference Large opener, the Coalers made their road to the playoffs look passable again by beating Herscher 31-14 Friday night.
What’s coming: Two 2-2 teams will meet this Friday in Coal City, and the winner will have much better odds of making the playoffs than the loser.
Sandwich has bounced back from losses to Seneca and Wilmington to knock off Plano, 24-20, and Manteno, 17-14, in Large play. With a loss to the Indians, the Coalers would have to win at least three of their final four games, and maybe all four, for a shot at the postseason. They finish conference play with 3-1 Plano and 2-2 Peotone before drawing 0-4 Westmont and 1-3 Reed-Custer in their final two games.
What’s happened: The Indians’ fortunes have fluctuated wildly early in Southwest Prairie Conference play, as they followed up a 41-13 loss to Oswego by pummeling Plainfield Central 48-7.
What’s coming: Expect much tighter games going forward for the Indians, who may have already seen the very best and very worst that their conference has to offer. Three 3-1 teams – Plainfield East, Plainfield South and Oswego East – face the 2-2 Indians in the next three weeks, with the first two of those games in Minooka.
The Indians will obviously have to win at least one of the three to make the playoffs; they’ll have to win two if they want any wiggle room at all when they close out the season by hosting Plainfield North and Romeoville.
What’s happened: A 42-7 loss at Geneseo made Friday’s game with Dixon something very close to a must-win for the Redskins, and they closed nonconference play with a 38-21 victory.
What’s coming: The good news is that five wins should get Morris into the playoffs; zero teams projected (like Morris) to go 4A, and only four teams total in the state have more opponents’ wins than the Redskins’ 25. The bad news is that the task of getting to five is a daunting one.
None of the Redskins’ Northern Illinois Big 12 East opponents are below .500 — three (Sycamore, Rochelle and Kaneland) are 4-0 – and Morris is the only team in the conference with a negative point differential.
Wins this Friday at Yorkville and Oct. 11 at DeKalb are probably essential, and the Redskins would still have to find a way to win at least once when they host the unbeatens.
What’s happened: It’s been a long time since Seneca could be unhappy with its play in any win, but that was probably the case for the Fighting Irish Friday as they had to rally to top Westmont 29-28, who had been outscored 165-38 in its first three games.
The win, coupled with a 30-15 Week 3 defeat of Lisle, made Seneca 4-0.
What’s coming: The winner of this Friday’s game between the Irish and host Wilmington almost certainly takes the I-8 Small championship.
The Irish will conclude divisional play with games against 1-3 Reed-Custer and 0-4 Dwight. They’d love to get to six wins and clinch a playoff berth before Small play ends in Week 7, but them doing so isn’t a foregone conclusion.
Reed-Custer has outscored its opponents 77-54 the last three weeks and may not be the pushover some Seneca fans might have expected.