Oswego usually upholds the honor of the Southwest Prairie come playoff time. The league otherwise has not enjoyed overwhelming success in the postseason.
When Plainfield East fell 31-0 on Friday to Lincoln-Way East, the Bengals became the third Plainfield school in three years to be victimized by the Griffins in Round 1. Lincoln-Way East ousted Plainfield South in 2011 and Plainfield Central in ’12.
Of course, Lincoln-Way East is the cream year in and year out. The Griffins are on a level other teams aspire to reach.
This was Plainfield East’s first visit to the playoffs, but it may only be a start.
“Lincoln-Way East is absolutely a good team,” Bengals coach Mike Romeli said. “They’ve been here. This is our first time.
“We have a big opportunity to have a good program. Our seniors did a lot for us this year and we’re going to miss them, but we have a lot coming back. We lose five or six key starters and the rest are back. The kids know it, and they’re excited for it.”
Among the Bengals’ prominent juniors this season were defensive end Daniel Jackson, quarterback Cole Kotopka and running back Jake Mayon.
It’s better now
Joliet Catholic junior Mike Gruben moved into the middle linebacker position early in the season and has continued to impress, becoming a key component in the Hilltoppers’ rejuvenated defense.
“I saw some film from workouts early in the summer and I couldn’t believe how bad I was,” Gruben said after Saturday’s 69-12 victory over Urban Prep-Englewood, a game where Gruben also returned the opening kickoff 73 yards for a touchdown.
“I’m feeling good now. I’ve made steady improvement.”
Say no to Friday
It never takes long to make the playoffs a Saturday thing. Only seven of 64 second-round games statewide this weekend will be played Friday. Four of the eight classes have no Friday games.
Bolingbrook will entertain Marist at 7 p.m. in Class 8A in the only Friday game involving an area school.
Player of the Week
Jake Robbins, of Lincoln-Way West, is the Herald-News Football Player of the Week.
The senior wide receiver caught three passes in a 3-minute, 19-second span of the second quarter of Saturday’s 48-8 Class 5A victory over Urban Prep-Bronzeville, and all three went for touchdowns. The scoring plays covered 3, 8 and 41 yards.