Football: Providence, Joliet Catholic each faced six playoff qualifiers during regular season
By Dick Goss email@example.com October 29, 2013 8:38PM
Providence's Miles Boykin (81) fights off a Brother Rice defender to catch a pass. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 1, 2013 8:26AM
Playing a difficult schedule is considered good preparation for the playoffs.
Accepting that premise, Providence (5-4) and Joliet Catholic (8-1) should be ready. Each has played six playoff teams.
The Celtics’ opponents were 54-27 overall; the Hilltoppers’ foes 50-31. Joliet Catholic would have played seven playoff teams but St. Viator missed by one point (opponent victory) after finishing 5-4.
Bolingbrook, Plainfield South, Romeoville, Lincoln-Way West, Coal City and Peotone all qualified while facing five playoff teams. Plainfield East, Wilmington and Seneca played against four each and Lincoln-Way East met three.
Joliet Catholic and Providence also are the area leaders and two of the state leaders in terms of playoff success.
The Hilltoppers are in their 37th playoff, 16th in succession, are 104-23 in playoff games and have a state-best 13 titles to go with four runner-up finishes. The Celtics are in for the 33rd time, including third straight, and are 77-23 with nine titles and three second places.
Bolingbrook is the ongoing area leader with its 22nd consecutive appearance, while Wilmington is in for the 18th straight season. Lincoln-East has qualified all 13 years of its existence.
Manteno (5-4) needed to win in Week 9 while Seneca (7-2) had its playoff berth sewn up. Regardless, what happened at Manteno was a shock. The Panthers jumped to a 47-6 halftime lead en route to a 54-6 victory.
Still, it has been a big season for Seneca, which is in the playoffs for the first time since 2001. The Irish will entertain Kewanee (6-3) at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Class 3A opening round.
Lincoln-Way Central gets a nod
Although missing the playoffs after a 42-13 Week 9 loss to Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln-Way Central (4-5) earned respect in Hud Venerable’s first season as Knights coach.
“Central is a good team,” West coach Dave Ernst said after Friday’s game. “They play hard. There was no way we were expecting this.”
“I’m proud of our seniors,” Venerable said. “They built our foundation. We believe we have one now. We were in every game except this one. We had some tough losses early, and we came up short in the end. But our fans were really supportive. This was a great atmosphere (Friday).”
Player of the Week
Kelvin Jones, of Romeoville, is the Herald-News football Player of the Week.
The junior quarterback passed for more than 300 yards in the first half and 340 total, threw for three touchdowns and ran for one as the Spartans earned their first playoff berth since 2002 with a 34-21 win over Minooka.