The Plainfield South Cougars (3-2, 2-1) may have unwittingly put a nail into their seasons' coffin when they failed to show up for their game in an embarrassing 34-7 Homecoming loss last week versus the Romeoville Spartans (3-2, 2-1). Of course when I say embarrassing that in no way is to diminish a total butt-spanking victory by the Romeoville Spartans either. As I said in my Week 5 preview, this Romeoville team is a much different team this year and they won't be anyone's doormat. And because they aren't this Plainfield South loss opens up the Southwest Prairie Conference for them and a few other teams.
The only weakness I had seen prior to this game was the tendency for QB Kelvin Jones to be his own worst enemy at times. But this talented young man came of age versus the Cougars as coaches taught him what the power of using audibles can do to negate the effects of blitzing defenses. And QB Kelvin Jones most definitely did that as he threw for 3 TD's to WR Chuck Hunter (2) and WR Manuel Nartey. He also pitched out to RB's Gil Whitaker (19/114 Yards, 1TD) and Miguel Ford (21/170, 1TD) for the other offensive scores. The Spartan Defense, meanwhile, also contributed mightily as they were able to stop Cougar on scoring drives and forcing big turnovers.
Of course I had envisioned a good game between these two teams and that Romeoville would put some points up, but I must be honest here too the Cougars Offense were a complete no show and that concerns me as they now travel up the road for their Annual Battle on Ridge Road versus Minooka. So I guess the question that must be asked at this point is "can the Cougars rebound and salvage their season?"
Then again, the Minooka Indians haven't shown any consistency thus far either. But the Indians and Cougars have always played hard against each other because for them, this game defines their season regardless of what their final records may wind up being. The Battle on Ridge Road is the real deal so it will be interesting to see how this one turns out as it is a Must Game for both! The way I see it, the team that leaves it all out on that field will win this game but that will also depend on which team shows up here.
The Minooka Indians (2-3, 1-2) were demolished by the Plainfield East Bengals (4-1, 2-1) 37-27 in Week Five and despite the illusion of a close game between the two - it was anything but as the Bengals jumped out to a commanding 23-7 1st Quarter lead after spotting the Indians an early lead. I really can't say that I didn't see this coming as I predicted a Bengal win here, but just as in the Romeoville game, I couldn't have imagined that both losing teams would be so badly out-played.
Sure Indians RB Nathan Gunn (19/110, 2TD's) did his best to keep the team in contention but I have to ask the obvious here- why wasn't RB Victor Turpin more involved in the game plan? Turpin, to me, is an integral part of the offense considering QB Jacob Czerniakowski plays a similar game to former QB Joe Carnagio. Don't get me wrong that style of play isn't bad but it is just too predictable in my opinion.
Plainfield East, meanwhile, is not a predictable team and that has a lot to do with the stunts that Head Coach Mike Romeli has built in to their offense since the onset. The Bengals play a similar style to that of the Oswego Panthers and their showdown this week could very well be The Game of the Week. Particularly so if Bengals QB Cole Kotopka (19/37-252 Yards, 2TD's / 14/65 Yards, 1 TD) can duplicate his efforts against a Panthers Defense that can be beaten. Yes, I said it! The Panthers Defense can be exploited with the right game plan as their two non-conference opponents showed particularly Waubonsie Valley.
Still, the Oswego Panthers (3-2, 3-0) must be considered the team to beat in the Southwest Prairie Conference (SPC) until someone says otherwise. The Panthers have typically done very well over the years when it comes to playing their conference games and this year is no different. They currently lead the conference on the strength of three convincing wins; 41-13 over Minooka, 31-13 over Romeoville and 48-10 over Oswego East in last week's Oswego Crosstown Classic. So I wouldn't overlook that 120-36 scoring margin.
Nor would I overlook Panthers QB Steven Frank despite completing only 8 passes last week because he still wound up with 202 Passing Yards and 4 TD's. So Plainfield East's defense should be looking into his eyes when he starts throwing because they are extremely good at making big picks and big run backs. Now both Plainfield East and Oswego have a number of offensive weapons on their roster that can turn a game into a rout, but the difference in this match-up will come down to which team can force the most turnovers. That is their bread and butter!
There is one very big intangible here though, with a win Plainfield East would become playoff-eligible and their current position in the IHSA Football State Playoff Outlook isn't very bad at all but a win goes a long, long way here! And that might just be a factor eh?
The Oswego East Wolves (3-2, 1-2) will be looking to turn things around against the winless Plainfield Central Wildcats (0-5, 0-3) when they travel to nearby Plainfield to play in a Saturday Matinee Homecoming contest. Now while this looks like a slam dunk I guess last weeks losses have reminded me that nothing is a given in the SPC. Besides, there is this thing called a law of averages that eventually rears its ugly head.
Can the Wildcats beat the Wolves? Well who really knows. But I do know this they are not having a good year and their fans will be piling out of the stands right around halftime to get ready for the evening dance - so that doesn't exactly translate into having many rah-rah moments to help a late rally you know? They also lost pretty big to the Plainfield North Tigers last week so it seems that struggling teams get healthy at their expense.
Oswego East, though, has seemed to settle back into their usual losing ways after starting the year 3-0 so if the Wildcats were to pull off an upset, well it wouldn't surprise me either. But I do think the Wolves are the better team if QB Tyler Kennedy finds TE Connor Nally and WR Trevor Kalish open. If that happens, well the Wolves running duo of Khalil Driver and Austin Butts will have a big day.
Last but not least the Plainfield North Tigers (2-3, 1-2) will be off to battle the Romeoville Spartans (3-2, 2-1) in what could be a very, very big game for both. But the Spartans have found another way to win after last week's win and they can make a legitimate run at the playoffs with a victory. North simply needs to win to survive though and that could make them dangerous after finding some offense last week.
Plainfield North will need some Lady Luck too as they have just not played consistent football for four quarters in any game this season. And that simply is not typical Tigers play. I still feel that this team is much better than their record indicates but I also understand how the ebbs and flow go in high school football.
So what will it be this week?
Well, as usual, here is the toughest part for me
Week 6 SPC Predictions:
Oswego 22, Plainfield East 18
Oswego East 34, Plainfield Central 16
Plainfield South 23, Minooka 17
Romeoville 33, Plainfield North 26
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Tags: Austin Butts, Battle on Ridge Road, Charles Hunter, Cole Kotopka, Conor Nally, Football, Gill Whitaker, High School Football, High School Sports, IHSA, IHSA Football State Playoff Outlook, IHSA State Playoffs, Illinois High School Association, Jacob Czerniakowski, Joe Carnagio, Kelvin Jones, Khalil Driver, Manuel Nartey, Miguel Ford, Mike Romeli, Minooka, Minooka Indians, Nathan Gunn, Oswego, Oswego Crosstown Classic, Oswego East Wolves, Oswego Panthers, Plainfield, Plainfield Central Wildcats, Plainfield East Bengals, Plainfield North Tigers, Plainfield South Cougars, Prep Football, Prep Sports, Romeoville, Romeoville Spartans, Southwest Prairie Conference, SPC, SPC Week 6 Previews, Sports, Steven Frank, Trevor Kalish, Tyler Kennedy, Victor Turpin, Week 6 SPC Predictions