The Red Zone Game of the Week coverage for week 8 of the high school football schedule is expanding. With senior reporter Tom Meredith chipping in play by play now, we essentially have two games of the week. Bruce Cowdrey and I (Doc) will call the Mid Illini title game between Washington and Metamora, while Tom will give us updates and play by play from Quincy Notre Dame, where the Raiders and Richwoods Knights battle again for the Mid State 6 brass ring.
I spent some time yesterday scanning the IHSA website and was interested to see the recent history of this year's likely area participants in the state football playoffs. Keep in mind that 32 teams make the playoffs in each of the eight classes. Also, teams accrue playoff points from the amount of victories from teams they've played against. 5-4 teams generally "tie" with others who hold the same record. Then, playoff points determine which 5-4 teams get in.
Class 1A: Stark County. The Rebels have been a powerhouse for some time. You'd have to go back to 1995 to find a time when they weren't in the playoffs, that's 16 straight years in the post season. They're 5-2 this season and will again get in. Currently, Stark County sits in the 18th seed.
Peoria Heights is 4-3, needing one win, at least, to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2003. If the season ended today, the Patriots would be in, holding the 26th seed. They've got winable games against 3-4 Knoxville and 4-3 Havana left on their schedule.
Class 2A: Tremont has clinched a post season spot with its 6th win last week. The 6-1 Turks have been mired in the 4-5 win mode recently. They last made it in 2007, a year which capped a run of 6 playoff appearances in 7 years under coach Lou Wicks.
Dee-Mack (3-4) is currently on the outside looking in. The Chiefs have made the playoffs 23 of the past 26 seasons. They'll be favored in their last two games against Fisher and El Paso Gridley, but will need playoff points to fall their way to advance.
Class 3A: Elmwood-Brimfield is in with its perfect 7-0 record. Todd Hollis' team has been in the playoffs for eight of the last nine seasons.
Farmington is 5-2, after consecutive losses. They've got to win out and get in on points. The Farmers, like Tremont recently, have been stuck in the 4-5 win total the past few years and haven't made the playoffs since 2008.
Class 4A: Peoria Notre Dame is heading to the playoffs for the second straight season. The 5-2 Irish need to beat winless Manual this week to clinch. Back to back playoffs for PND, after missing out the previous nine years.
Class 5A: 6-1 Washington is in. The Panthers have made it five of the last six years under former Illinois State lineman Darrell Crouch.
Class 6A: 5-2 Metamora will be in again. Pat Ryan's teams has reached post season play 18 straight years! Redbirds still have Limestone on the schedule, so count on six wins. Ryan squads have won two state championships and lost in the state title game five times.
5-2 East Peoria should get in, even with five wins, thanks to its opponents victory totals, but the Raiders would like to earn a clinching sixth win. Tough game this week against Pekin (our Matt Hall will report on it), then at Morton to finish. EP only won three games the previous two seasons, but this should be the second time in four years in the playoffs for the improved Raiders.
Peora High (Central) has not made the playoffs since1995. The 3-4 Lions have to win out against 2-5 IVC and at 1-6 East Moline, then roll the dice on points. Would be a shame if the improved Lions, under former Woodruff coach Tim Thornton, don't get in.
Class 6A: 5-2 Richwoods needs one more win to clinch. The defending state runners up play against two good opponents the final two weeks: 5-2 Quincy Notre Dame and improved, 4-3 Galesburg. Richwoods has made the playoffs nine straight years and 25 of the past 29 seasons!
Class 7A: 5-2 Pekin is looking to return to the playoffs for the second straight season. The Dragons have only played post season football twice in the past nine years, but are likely to this season. After 5-2 East Peoria, they finish with 2-5 Dunlap.
Should be an exciting finish to the prep football season. And the 95.5 GLO Red Zone Game of the Week coverage is thrilled to bring it to you. We'll follow our teams into the playoffs and hope for a long run from an area team or two, like Richwoods accomplished last year, playing on the final day of the season.