A game without playoff implications between St. Charles East and West Chicago could hold the key for two area teams making the playoffs.
South Elgin and Jacobs are sure to be big fans of St. Charles East because a Saints win gives each an extra playoff tiebreaker point that would be needed if they finish 5-4.
At 5-3 and with a road game Friday against Upstate Eight Valley champion Waubonsie Valley, South Elgin gets in with a victory. With a loss, the Storm would have to rely on playoff points — the number of opponents’ victories — to make it.
Currently, the Storm has 33 points, and with a loss would have 37. With a St. Charles East win over West Chicago, the Storm would have 38 points. Getting more than 38 would be unlikely because it would require Crystal Lake South to beat Cary-Grove.
Storm coach Pat Pistorio described his team’s situation as “Definitely on the bubble from what we have analyzed.”
In the past 10 years, 37 points got teams into the playoffs five times and 38 got teams in eight times. So that one extra victory by a former opponent can make all the difference. One time out of 10 it took more than 39 points.
Now 4-4, Jacobs needs a win at McHenry. With a win, the Golden Eagles will likely have either 37 or 38 playoff points. One of their games was against St. Charles East, so they also need a Saints win over West Chicago to contribute to their total.
The playoff picture is more simple for Burlington Central: Win and the Rockets are in. They may be in anyway. They are at Rockford Christian, a winless team that has been outscored 399-83 this season. In the unlikely event of a loss, the Rockets should have 39-41 playoff points and would likely have enough.
They’re taking nothing for granted.
“It’s like the coaches told us,” receiver Brenden Bushy said. “This is their (Rockford Christian) Super Bowl so we have to come out ready to play.”
Genoa-Kingston is another team in a simple playoff situation. The Cogs already have 41 playoff points before this week’s games, and would have plenty to make it.
What they need is a victory at Richmond-Burton, which also is a potential playoff team at 5-3.
St. Charles North, Huntley and St. Edward are the area teams that have already clinched playoff berths.
The football schedule for Upstate Eight Conference teams is nearly complete for next season, and it indicates only a change that had long been anticipated.
West Chicago moves over from the River Division to the Valley Division to replace the three Indian Valley District schools — Waubonsie Valley, Metea Valley and Neuqua Valley — that had already announced they were moving to the DuPage Valley.
Elgin athletic director Paul Pennington confirmed there is no change in the divisional structure.
“It’s not ideal with 13 schools, but that’s what we have now,” Pennington said.
The seven- and six-team divisions make for some scheduling quirks as schools seek to fill out nonconference games.
The schedule has Valley Division schools playing a nonconference game each against DuPage Valley teams, but Pennington shot down any speculation there is interest in eventually combining the Upstate Eight and DuPage Valley schools into a sort of “super conference.”
“That’s not happening,” Pennington said.
Batavia is the only school in the River Division that has a football game against the DuPage Valley.