Football: Definition coming to Joliet-area playoff picture
By Dick Goss email@example.com October 22, 2013 8:22PM
Joliet West linebacker Navontae Battle (15) sacks Joliet Central quarterback Malek Harden (11). | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 24, 2013 6:33AM
The Joliet-area playoff picture gained some clarity last week, but more will be decided on the final weekend of the regular season.
Plainfield East (6-2) and Peotone (6-2) won in Week 8 to clinch postseason berths. East is a playoff team for the first time.
Bolingbrook (8-0), Joliet Catholic (7-1), Lincoln-Way West (7-1), Wilmington (7-1), Seneca (7-1) and Lincoln-Way East (6-2) previously had clinched.
Four area teams will qualify with Week 9 victories. Providence (4-4) is entertaining Brother Rice (3-5), Lincoln-Way Central (4-4) is home against Lincoln-Way West, Romeoville (4-4) is at Minooka (3-5) and Plainfield South (5-3) travels to Plainfield East.
Coal City (4-4) must win at home against Reed-Custer (2-6) for its fifth victory but still may have trouble qualifying because of a shortage of playoff points (opponent victories). The Coalers should finish with 36 or 37 points unless a couple of their earlier opponents win games this weekend they do not project to win. The cutoff for playoff points for 5-4 teams probably will be a bit higher than 37.
Plainfield South would be in a similar position if it loses to Plainfield East. The Cougars then would have five wins and possibly be limited to 38 playoff points. Lemont and Wheaton St. Francis, their nonconference foes, have tossup games this week so South cannot count on either winning and providing what may be a vital extra playoff point.
The Cougars looked playoff ready last week when they fell 35-28 to Southwest Prairie champion Oswego after trailing by 21 points in the first half.
“Kody (Voda) passed for more than 200 yards and ran for 97, and Josh (Harris) ran for 147 and had five receptions for 45,” South coach Ken Bublitz said. “Big mistakes were detrimental to us, but I was proud of our guys, the way they came back.
“In our league, Oswego had not been scored on much, and I think most of the scores they had given up came at the end of games.”
Joliet West (3-5) has been up-and-down defensively. But Tigers coach Jason Aubry likes what he has seen from linebacker Navontae Battle.
“I really like everything Battle has done for us,” Aubry said after his team’s Week 8 50-0 win over Joliet Central. “We’ve been able to move him around in different spots. He busts his butt, really works hard. I get on him all the time, but I always tell the kids that if the coaches are getting on you, it’s a good sign.”
Player of the Week
Tuf Borland, of Bolingbrook, is the Herald-News Football Player of the Week.
The sophomore linebacker had two of the Raiders’ three interceptions, returning the second for the clinching touchdown with 6:54 remaining, in a 12-3 SouthWest Suburban Blue victory over Lincoln-Way East.