The Minooka Indians and Oswego Panthers both have identical records (5-2-0, 5-0-0 SPC) and it appears that they will be competing for a Southwest Prairie Conference Winner-Take-All Showdown in Week 9 if both prevail on Friday Night. Of the two teams, it would appear that the Minooka Indians have the easier opponent in the Romeoville Spartans (2-5-0, 1-4-0 SPC). But as they say - you still have to show up and play the game! Of course, Minooka has had no problems showing up in any of their games thus far and I do not expect a letdown here, especially on their home turf. The Spartans are coming off an impressive 31-10 Homecoming Victory over the Oswego East Wolves, but have already been eliminated from State Playoff consideration for another year. Besides, the Spartans look like they are over-matched in this contest. Kalvin Hill should have a field day in this game and may come close to shattering some record here. The way I see it, Minooka could very well win this one by 60 points or more.
The Oswego Panthers, meanwhile, will face a surprising Plainfield Central Wildcats (5-2-0, 3-2-0 SPC) team who earned State Playoff At-Large status after defeating the Plainfield East Bengals in last Saturday's Homecoming Game. Plainfield Central may not be the most prolific team in the conference but they have been playing well and can pull off an upset here if Oswego is not careful. Plainfield Central can earn an IHSA State Playoff berth with a victory this week or next in Romeoville. Oswego, meanwhile, has already clinched a 6A State Playoff Berth but my guess is that they will go all out to try and win the conference. I will take Oswego by 10.
The Plainfield South Cougars (3-4-0, 2-3-0 SPC) must travel crosstown to meet the Plainfield East Bengals (2-5-0, 2-3-0 SPC) and know that their chances at making the State Playoffs as an At-Large Bid will hinge on them winning their final two games. The Cougars, who had been expected to compete for the conference, have hit a brick wall after dropping a 26-19 home game to Plainfield Central and then losing at Oswego in a wild 54-24 shootout. But don't let that last score mislead you - the Cougars were in this game until the end and I have to admit that I was impressed with their full 48 minute effort. I don't think that the Cougars have any illusions, though. They know that they have not played up to their potential this season and will have to step it up here if they want to salvage what is left of it. Plainfield East will not be an easy game for the Cougars either because both teams play a very similar style. So I think it will come down to whoever makes the fewest mistakes. Although Plainfield East have been eliminated from State Playoff consideration they will still play the game and as such the Plainfield South Cougars MUST keep their mistakes at a minimum and put in another complete 48 minute effort in this one! The game will be a close one - but I'll take the Cougars by 4.
The Plainfield North Tigers (3-4-0, 2-3-0 SPC) will host the Oswego East Wolves (2-5-0, 0-5-0 SPC) and appear to be the better team here, especially after their heartbreaking 28-21 loss last week in Minooka. As it stands, the Tigers are now in the same boat as district rivals, Plainfield South. Win or Else! Now I am not sure if any 5-4 record out of the SPC will garner an At-Large Bid or not - but you must think there will still be a few upsets this week among other possible eligibles - so there is still a chance. Besides, this season has had some really strange results so anything could happen yet in their probable 7A Brackets. A victory by both North and South would set up an At-Large showdown at Plainfield South next Friday Night. As for an Oswego East upset? I am not sure as I thought the Wolves would have a better record after opening with a couple of nice wins against okay teams, but, I am not sure what the problem was. It isn't as if they don't have talent there, because they do. Perhaps a run-orientated game plan would have suited them better? But Hey - I don't know. Plainfield North by 10.
As always - good luck to all our teams.
Play Hard & Play Safe!