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Rick Armstrong’s football notes: West Aurora’s Nate Eimer earns coaching honor

Nate Eimer was taken aback late last week when he learned he had been named the Chicago Bears High School Coach of the Week for Week 7.

The Blackhawks’ stunning 27-24 double overtime upset of previously unbeaten Waubonsie Valley earned the fourth-year West coach the honor.

“I just feel blessed,” Eimer said. “The kids and staff deserve all the credit. The award is great for our team and program.”

The Coach of the Week program is in its 19th season and runs for the nine weeks of the high school regular season. The NFL team will make a $1,500 donation to the West Aurora program and Eimer will be invited to attend the Bears-Lions game Sunday, Dec. 21.

There, he will join his fellow honorees for an on-field photo during pre-game. He will also receive a framed certificate signed by Bears head coach Marc Trestman and have the chance to visit Halas Hall for lunch and to view a Bears’ practice.

FOX 32 Chicago and the Illinois Army National Guard help sponsor the program, which will also honor representatives from the eight championship teams from last year’s IHSA state playoffs at the Dec. 21 game.

West followed the big win with another one in last Friday’s East-West rivalry game, pushing the Blackhawks’ record to 3-5 overall and 3-3 in the Upstate Eight Valley. They play Glenbard East at home on Friday with a chance to finish the season 4-3 in conference play, which would be the program’s best mark since going 4-4 in 1995.

Playoff scenarios

With one week remaining in the regular season, six of the 16 teams in the Beacon News coverage area have locked up playoff berths by winning at least six games: 7-1 Waubonsie Valley, Oswego, Batavia and Geneva and 6-2 Marmion and Yorkville.

Three others — 5-3 Metea Valley, Aurora Central and Plano — are playoff eligible and could lock up postseason spots with wins in their final games against 5-3 Neuqua Valley, 5-3 Wheaton Academy and 1-7 Lisle, respectively.

Aurora Christian, at 4-4, needs to win at home against 4-4 Leo to become playoff-eligible.

Streaking Panthers

Oswego (7-1, 6-0) clinched its fourth straight Southwest Prairie Conference title and extended its league win streak to 27, holding off Plainfield North 35-28.

“This was the second week in a row it came down to the last drive of the game,” Panther coach Brian Cooney said. “Last week, it was our offense, and this week, it came down to our defense. I don’t like the way we’re winning, but we’re winning.”

The Tigers drove to the Oswego 6 with 1.6 seconds remaining but threw an incomplete pass on the game’s final play.

In his return from injury, Oswego quarterback Steven Frank threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns.

Cadets on the march

Marmion ran wild, piling up 460 yards rushing with 18 attempts of 10 or more yards in Friday’s 56-0 rout of Aurora Christian, and clinched its fifth playoff berth in six years.

“Football is a numbers game. You can have great talent at two or three positions, but it takes 11 on both sides of the ball for 48 minutes,” Cadets’ coach Dan Thorpe said. “Obviously, we wore them down. We’re healthy now, and it’s not always how good you are, but how healthy.”

The Eagles lost both WR/DB Zach Bosek and QB Austin Bray to ankle injuries in the first half.

Bob Reynolds and Dennis Nelson contributed to this report.