Goss: Romeoville showing a playoff glow
By Dick Goss email@example.com October 2, 2013 9:42PM
Romeoville quarterback Kelvin Jones looks to pass against Bolingbrook. | Larry Kane/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 4, 2013 11:55AM
After an 0-9 football fall in 2012, Romeoville has become a 2013 feel-good story.
The Spartans (3-2, 2-1) have lost only to Bolingbrook and Oswego — no shame in that. Any doubt about coach Jeff Kuna’s team was erased in Friday’s 34-7 Southwest Prairie victory over Plainfield South (3-2, 2-1).
Earlier in the season, turnovers were hurting the Spartans “or we could have been better off,” Kuna said. “We had been putting our defense in bad spots. Last week we didn’t turn it over and we played the field position game very well. We didn’t go for fourth-and-1s at midfield. We punted, and we punted them inside the 10 twice.”
What else went well?
Talented backs Miguel Ford and Gil Whitaker combined for 258 rushing yards. Their blockers delivered.
“Our fullbacks, Tony Borges and Marcus Tyler, and our line did an incredible job,” Kuna said. “Our tight end, Mickey Crnkovich, did a great job blocking, too. Our backs got to the line every play.”
Quarterback Kelvin Jones threw three touchdown passes and was spot-on with audible calls.
“He audibled probably a dozen times based on what the defense was doing and we made positive yards every time,” Kuna said. “So his mental work was very good.”
Defensively, the Spartans held an explosive offense in check. Kuna said the defense has played well most of the season.
“It all starts with the front three, which we feel is as good as any,” Kuna said, referring to junior nose tackle Evan Stingily and ends Anthony Love and Caleb Purham.
Put it all together, and Romeoville has the look of a playoff team, something the Spartans have not been since 2002.
Yes, the playoffs. Entering Week 6, it is time to start examining postseason possibilities.
If the playoffs were to begin this weekend, Romeoville would be among 12 area schools with an invitation. They’re all 3-2 or better. Seven others are 2-3 and not out of the hunt by any means. Here are our realistic playoff candidates by class:
8A: Bolingbrook (5-0), Plainfield South (3-2), Joliet West (2-3), Minooka (2-3).
7A: Lincoln-Way East (4-1), Plainfield East (4-1), Providence (3-2), Lincoln-Way Central (2-3), Plainfield North (2-3). The question is whether Providence will wind up in 6A. At this point, the Celtics would be the smallest qualifier in 7A.
6A: Romeoville (3-2), Lemont (2-3).
5A: Joliet Catholic (5-0), Lincoln-Way West (4-1), Morris (2-3). If Morris gets in, might it be in 4A? A definite maybe. Right now, the Redskins are second-smallest among 5A playoff contenders.
4A: Peotone (3-2), Coal City (3-2).
3A: Wilmington (5-0), Seneca (4-1), Reed-Custer (2-3).
Many of our teams will qualify if they finish 5-4. That means our seven 2-3 teams must win at least three of their last four games.
However, several of our schools may be shy on playoff points (opponent victories) and thus not yet safe with five victories: Wilmington (19), Seneca (19), Peotone (20), Coal City (20), Plainfield East (20), Lemont (20), Plainfield North (21) and maybe even Plainfield South (22) and Lincoln-Way East (22).
Joliet Catholic and Bolingbrook have five victories and have clinched because they have plenty of playoff points. Wilmington has five victories, yet will not clinch until winning No. 6.
Lincoln-Way West will clinch with a win this weekend, but Plainfield East, Lincoln-Way East and Seneca may not.
Conference games not involving your team are not a variable in playoff points because there is a winner and loser in each. If your team may be headed toward 5-4 and perhaps is shy on playoff points, root the rest of the way for your nonconference opponents to win as many games as possible.
Every year, several teams statewide barely qualify and several others barely miss out. You hate to be in the latter category because your nonconference foes lose a game or two late in the season they could have won.