Goss: Week 1 football losses could be damaging
August 30, 2012 8:48PM
Joliet Catholic Academy's Tyler Reitz (21) breaks a tackle by Providence Catholic during their football game in New Lenox Friday, August 24, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2012 5:38PM
The high school football season is only in Week 2, but some area teams already have put themselves in difficult position from a playoff perspective.
The magic formula for qualifying is to finish 5-4 with sufficient playoff points (opponent victories). To be safe, of course, life is easier if you finish at least 6-3.
Minooka, No. 7 in the Herald-News area rankings, dropped its opener 14-6 to No. 6 Morris and faces a major challenge Friday night at No. 3 Providence in the Season Pass High School Cube spotlight game for this area. The 2011 Indians started 0-2, then ran off a six-game winning streak. But there is no guarantee they will be able to dominate the Southwest Prairie Conference in a similar manner this season.
With that thought, beating Providence becomes even more paramount. However, the Celtics are coming off a huge 40-34 win over Joliet Catholic and come in thinking they prefer to start 2-0, what with the Catholic League Blue schedule looming. So you could label it is a must-win for both sides.
It will be interesting to see whether Minooka quarterback Joe Carnagio gets the Indians’ passing game going, and whether Providence quarterback Dominic Lagone, who played so well last week, can come close to duplicating that performance.
No. 4 Joliet Catholic is facing a decent opponent in Robeson, which features Division I running back Devon Sanders, and the Hilltoppers will be doing it without wingback Ty Isaac because of the right shoulder injury he suffered against Providence.
A story this week in the Sun-Times termed the diagnosis as “minimal tears to several ligaments.” Isaac said he is looking at sitting out this week in the least, perhaps returning next week.
Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers are eager to correct the defensive shortcomings that showed up against Providence, keep scoring points and get into the win column against Robeson. Nazareth and Marist come up in Weeks 4 and 5, so the front end of the schedule is loaded.
Among other area teams suffering Week 1 losses were Lincoln-Way West, 19-13 to Sycamore; Lockport, 27-7 to Downers Grove North; Plainfield North, 27-22 to Bradley; and Plainfield East, 24-22 to Metea Valley on a last-minute field goal.
You get the feeling all four of those games could have gone the other way. In each instance, the local team projects as the type that may find itself on the playoff bubble come Weeks 8 and 9. Let’s hope we don’t look back at the opener as the one that spoiled things.
While saying that, it should be noted that Lincoln-Way West, under first-year coach Dave Ernst, faced a difficult assignment opening at Sycamore, which reached the second round of the Class 5A playoffs a year ago. Now the Warriors entertain coach Brett Hefner’s Lincoln-Way Central team in the Herald-News Game of the Week.
Lincoln-Way Central, some observers thought, was ready this season to get back into the playoff hunt. As with West, a win in this district match-up would go a long way toward helping achieve that goal.
Lockport is traveling to Plainfield North for another must-win, both ways. Lockport won last year’s Week 2 match-up 28-21 and eventually reached the second round of the Class 8A playoffs. North finished 4-5 and fell short of the playoffs.
The thought is teams can make their biggest improvement between Week 1 and Week 2. The Porters and Tigers both are hopeful of having that happen. North is dangerous offensively with quarterback Kurt Palandech and running back Jay Roberts.
Plainfield East, still a relatively new program, hopes to qualify for the postseason for the first time. After last week’s tough loss, the Bengals, led by linebacker Brennen Rompa, feel they have to find a way to derail their high-powered visitor from Batavia.
The two Joliet Township schools both have interesting games this week as West visits Plainfield South and Central travels to Reavis.
Had the opponents been reversed for West and South last week, the results may have been similar. Although the Tigers beat Thornridge 48-0 and the Cougars fell 33-6 at Bolingbrook, this shapes up as one of this area’s most competitive games of the weekend. Again, both teams may look back at this as one they had to have for playoff purposes.
For a big finish, how about the first Joliet Central victory since the restoration of separate programs in 2010? The Steelmen, under first-year coach Brett Boyter, can get it done against Reavis.