CHICAGO – Moments after Seneca advanced to the third round of the Class 3A football playoffs with a blowout of Robeson, coach Ted O’Boyle asked his players a question.
Eleven weeks ago, O’Boyle wondered, who would have believed this was possible?
As the Irish entered the 2013 season 12 years removed from their last playoff berth, I’m guessing the list of people who expected them to be state quarterfinalists was a short one. Maybe some of the players thought big things were coming. Maybe some of their mothers and girlfriends did. Or maybe the number of people who actually would’ve projected two playoff wins for a team that would’ve taken one-and-done was zero.
At least one of the Irish players I asked Saturday said he may have dared to dream this big back in August.
“I thought it was possible,” senior Bo Taylor said. “I didn’t know if we were gonna do it or not. But, yeah, it’s awesome.”
To another senior, Tommy Lovett, the Irish getting this far would have seemed inconceivable during two-a-days.
“To be honest, I didn’t. I didn’t think it was possible,” Lovett said. “Everyone said we couldn’t do it, but we knew we had to prove everyone wrong.”
Senior linebacker and offensive lineman Brad Wyss isn’t even sure how he’d have answered if asked during the preseason if the Irish could advance as far as they have.
“I don’t know. I have no clue, honestly,” Wyss said. “With the players we got, and our backfield and our stout line up front, we can do anything.”
That small sample seems to reflect that the Irish had wide-ranging views on their own chances heading into the season. It left me curious about one other person’s opinion. Would O’Boyle have thought this possible 11 weeks ago?
“You never know in the playoffs, and you never know who you’re gonna play and what the draw’s gonna be. It just worked out in our favor,” O’Boyle said.
“I know after the second week of the season, [Irish senior] Austin Applebee said – I believe to you, maybe – that he was even surprised that we’re as good as what we are. We’re just gonna enjoy this as long as we can. It’s gonna be great to be one of the eight teams playing next week.”