Welcome to Week 8! There’s just two weeks left of regular season football remaining and playoff races are shaping up.
In the Fox Valley, it remains very clear that Prairie Ridge is the top team in the area. After trailing 14-0 to Jacobs last week, the Wolves scored 35 unanswered points to stay undefeated. Springfield Sacred-Heart Griffin remains tied with Prairie Ridge for the top spot in the 6A AP poll but Prairie Ridge is a special team and should be the favorite to win the 6A state championship come playoff time.
Crystal Lake South and Jacobs (both 6-1) have clinched playoff berths and will face off for the FVC Valley’s second place trophy. It will be the The Five Cents Game of the Week, and these two rivals know each other very, very well. But this game is also big for playoff positioning.
Of the other area teams that are playoff eligible, Bartlett, Burlington Central, Cary-Grove, Streamwood and Woodstock North can clinch playoff berths with wins this weekend. Six wins qualifies teams for the state playoffs, five only makes you eligible.
Crystal Lake Central and St. Edward don’t need to be told otherwise. At 4-3 they know they need wins tonight and next week to clinch playoff spots. Hypothetically speaking, if both teams finished with just 5 wins, both should have enough playoff points to earn a 1st round game. But odds are they don’t want to be a 5-4 entry possibly facing a 9-0 or an 8-1 squad.
Larkin, McHenry and South Elgin are the 3-4 teams that cannot afford to lose the rest of the way. McHenry visits Prairie Ridge so unless they pull off the upset of upsets on Friday, you can eliminate the Warriors from the race.
The Royals and Sabres provide interesting subplots in the UEC River. If Larkin gets a win, they stay alive for another week at 4-4 and will need to knock off Geneva at home next week.
Streamwood’s not in a must-win mode, but if they lose against Larkin on Friday, it could get real ugly.
Because if Streamwood loses tomorrow, chances are they’ll lose in Week 9 to undefeated Batavia and ultimately spoil their playoff chances.
The Sabres would finish the season at 5-4. And 20 playoff points won’t do it for a team that shined after five weeks of football.
But this scenario isn’t new. It was brought up weeks ago and sadly, it’s almost falling into place.
Streamwood had one of the weakest schedules to begin the season. The best record of Streamwood’s first 5 opponents right now is 2-5. They are a combined 3-32. No wonder why the Sabres had a 5-0 start.
Week 6 was Streamwood’s tipping point. Again they faced a weak opponent in win-less St. Charles East and what should have been a easy-win and playoff clinching night turned into a crushing 49-34 loss at home.
With three tougher opponents looming on their schedule at 5-1, instead of the Sabres’ first loss just being a minor bump in the road, it opened a giant pothole.
The Sabres’ last three opponents – Geneva, Larkin and Batavia – are much better teams. And currently, are a combined 16-5. On paper, Streamwood’s road didn’t look good knowing its playoff point total wasn’t going to help them out.
The Sabres’ tougher schedule proved right last week as Geneva dropped them 41-0, going to 6-1.
Enter a hungry Larkin team at 3-4 on Friday and an undefeated Batavia, who should be 8-0 next week and you have possibly a giant collapse on your hands – that’s if Streamwood doesn’t get it done on Friday.
We’ll see what gives in the Upstate Eight River, but make no mistake about it, the Sabres are in for what could be either a sense of relief or sense of shock.
The Five Cents Week 8 Picks
Last week: 7-3
St. Edward (4-3) at Aurora Christian (6-1) – 7:00 p.m. – Winner: Eagle
North Boone (4-3, 1-2) at Burlington Central (5-2, 2-1) – 7:00 p.m. – Winner: Rocket
Harvard (6-1, 2-1) at Richmond-Burton (6-1, 3-0) – 7:00 p.m. – Winner: Rocket
McHenry (3-4, 1-3) at (1) Prairie Ridge (7-0, 4-0) – 7:15 p.m. – Winner: Wolf
Grayslake North (4-3, 3-1) at Grayslake Central (6-1, 4-1) – 7:15 p.m. – Winner: Ram
Woodstock North (5-2, 3-1) at Hampshire (1-6, 1-3) – 7:15 p.m. – Winner: Thunder
Larkin (3-4, 2-2) at Streamwood (5-2, 2-2) – 7:30 p.m. – Winner: Royal
Bartlett (5-2, 4-0) at Neuqua Valley (5-2, 3-1) – 7:30 p.m. – Winner: Hawk
Geneva (6-1) at South Elgin (3-4) – 1:30 p.m. – Winner: Viking
FIVE CENTS GAME OF THE WEEK
Jacobs (6-1, 3-1) at (7) Crystal Lake South (6-1, 4-1) – 7:15 p.m. – Friday
Winner: Golden Eagle