Even though Plainfield Central managed to escape with a 42-40 victory over Plainfield East two weeks ago, the Wildcats were anything but happy with their defensive performance.
In last Saturday’s 21-6 Homecoming win over Plainfield South, defense was the reason the Wildcats moved to within one game of qualifying for the playoffs.
Coach John Jackson’s team will be out to finish the job at 7 p.m. Friday when the Wildcats visit Southwest Prairie and district foe Plainfield East in the Herald-News Season Pass Spotlight Game on HighSchoolCube.com.
“They were slapped in the face last week,” Jackson said of his team’s defense. “They came back and showed a lot of pride. Ray (Shields, the defensive coordinator), Joe (Schertz) and Jim (Campisi) came up with a good game plan, and the kids executed the plan.”
“We had a terrible game last week,” said senior linebacker/running back Gino Giarratano, one of the standouts against South. “The defense was outstanding today.”
Central (5-2, 3-2) limited the Cougars to 34 rushing yards, 165 total, created three turnovers and made a goal-line stand that figured into the outcome.
East, which fell to Central 33-21 last year, is coming off a 27-14 victory over Romeoville. But the Bengals (2-5, 2-3) have not enjoyed the success they were hoping to have. They no longer are playoff eligible so are cast in the role of spoilers.
Speaking of which, Central, which finishes the regular season next week against Southwest Prairie leader Oswego, probably needs one more victory to qualify because the Wildcats are short on playoff points.
“The only thing we’re going to do from here is take it one game at a time,” Jackson said. “Plainfield East is better than their record shows, and Oswego is a bear. We know we have to get at least one to be assured of the playoffs.”
Central won five games last season and missed the playoffs after losing 49-46 to Romeoville in a wild Week 9 tussle.