Burlington Central football coach Rich Crabel is unsure whether he’ll have Adam Skirmont back as his starter at quarterback for the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
However, the real concern might be whether he’ll have Skirmont — who missed the regular-season finale due to an ankle sprain — to play safety for the 1 p.m. Saturday game at home against Sterling (6-3).
“We won’t know more about that until later in the week, but that probably hurts us on defense because he’s really smart at the safety position,” Crabel said. “He gets where he’s supposed to be.
“We’ve worked a lot of different combinations in the secondary without him and it would be helpful if he was available.”
Most teams might be more concerned at quarterback, but Crabel plugged in junior Robert Doubek, who started earlier this year.
“Robert played last game and did just fine,” Crabel said.
Doubek has completed half of his 114 passes for 758 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. He only needed to throw seven passes Friday in a 55-12 rout of winless Rockford Christian.
Regardless of who plays quarterback, the emphasis in Central’s passing attack remains getting the ball to 6-4 receiver Brenden Bushy.
The senior hadn’t played football since junior high and still caught a team-best 29 passes for 479 yards and six touchdowns this season after hauling in a 41-yard TD pass Friday from Doubek.
“When we started in offseason work, I felt lost,” Bushy said. “I was confused, didn’t know the offense, where to go on plays, things like that.
“Coaches kept working with me, luckily. And coach Crabel had the best advice when he said, ‘Just run fast, jump high and catch the ball.’ I had no idea I could have this kind of season, but I love it and kind of wish I had come out for football before this.”
Big play Wave
St. Edward’s passing attack has featured numerous receivers catching passes from Joseph Mullen, but the player who has emerged as a threat after being an unknown early is sophomore Trevor Loewen.
“He’s a big-play guy,” coach Mike Rolando said. “Nick Duffy and Petey DeWindt have been more the possession guys, but Trevor and Santos (Gomez) have been big-play types. Trevor’s playing time really increased when we lost Danny (Favela) to injury for a while or he would have been rotating in.
“He’s really blossomed and he’s still a young player.”
Loewen finished the regular season averaging 27.0 yards per catch. He had 16 receptions, half of which went for touchdowns, and 432 yards. Gomez had 13 catches for 280 yards and four TDs.
The Green Wave (9-0) host Rock Island Alleman (5-4) at 1 p.m. Satuday at Greg True Field in the 4A playoffs.
Huntley’s home-field edge
There are plenty of advantages on both sides of the ball for Huntley (8-1) and Palatine (7-2) in a 2 p.m. Saturday 8A matchup, but the home-field advantage the Red Raiders could be a huge one. Huntley games generally attract huge crowds.
“It’s going to be an incredible atmosphere,” Huntley coach John Hart said. “Our crowds have been terrific.
“We’ve had as many as 6,000 for our homecoming game and had crowds approaching that size two other times. We might have had even more but we had tough weather a few times.”
IHSA first-round football pairings
(10) Palatine (7-2) at (7) Huntley (8-1), 2 p.m. Saturday
(9) St. Charles North (7-2) at (8) Rolling Meadows (7-2), 6:30 p.m. Saturday
(10) Sterling (6-3) at (7) Burlington Central (6-3), 1 p.m. Saturday
(15) Rock Island Alleman (5-4) at (2) St. Edward (9-0), 1 p.m. Saturday