Three Must Wins Games In The Southwest Prairie Conference *Updated*

Three Must Wins Games In The Southwest Prairie Conference *Updated*
Plainfield South In A Must Win Game! (Image: Michael A. Ciric)

Update: All Three Must Win Games Were Won and the Southwest Prairie Conference will have 5 Representatives in the IHSA State Playoffs. Final Seeding and Class Designation will be unveiled Saturday Evening on the IHSA Pairings Show (which can be seen live on your local IHSA TV stations and/or the Internet). Congratulations to all the SPC Playoff Teams and a big thank you to each and every team for going out and giving it your all. And to this observer - win or lose - you are all champions and warriors!

Friday Night Final Scores:

** Oswego East 27, Plainfield North 13
** Oswego H.S. 55, Plainfield Central 7
** Plainfield South 38, ** Plainfield East 0
** Romeoville H.S. 34, Minooka 21

** Denotes 2013-2014 IHSA Playoff Teams

Three Must Wins Games In The Southwest Prairie Conference!

Never mind the IHSA State Playoffs Pairing Show scheduled for Saturday Night, that's just for the "Bubble Teams." And the best thing a team, especially one that may be short in the all important opposition wins category, can do is to avoid it is by going out on to the field Friday Night and just take care of business. As such there are three must win games in the Southwest Prairie Conference this week. Win and they will join their conference mates, the Oswego Panthers (6-2, 6-0) and Plainfield East Bengals (6-2, 4-2) in the IHSA State Football Playoffs.

Lose? Well they may as well turn in their uniforms immediately after their games Friday Night and forgo the Saturday Morning ritual because there will be no tomorrow so far as the High School Football Second Season goes for them.

And that is where it stands for the Plainfield South Cougars (5-3, 4-2), the Oswego East Wolves (5-3, 3-3) and the Romeoville Spartans (4-4, 3-3) who would qualify at 5-4 due to their stealthy 40 Opposition Wins going into Week 9. Even Plainfield South could possibly qualify with a 5-4 record, but I see their current 34 Opposition Wins as being an impediment. Oswego East will NOT qualify with a loss, period!

The kick in the head for each one of these teams is that they all lost a game they should have won in the last four weeks and they are stuck with the realization that if they blow it, they have no one to blame but that particular loss. But that's the way it has been in one of the wackiest High School Seasons involving the Southwest Prairie in recent memory where teams have had more ups and downs than Duncan Yo-Yo's.

Now some would perceive that the Southwest Prairie Conference is a weakling in comparison to other conferences (especially the power conferences in the Southwest West Suburbs) but I don't necessarily agree with that. There seems to a level of parity that has developed in the SPC and that makes every week's game that mush more critical as the season progresses. So they simply cannot underestimate any opponent.

Quite frankly, the only team that had the distinction of being a "duck" were the Plainfield Central Wildcats (0-8, 0-6) who have just had one horrific season thus far. But they have a valid excuse as they were particularly hard hit with graduation losses as well as a rash of injuries to boot. But hear me - they will be better next year because some very valuable experience was gained and we have already seen some glimpses of who their new group of stars will be. As for the other teams, such as the Minooka Indians (3-5, 2-4) and Plainfield North Tigers (3-5, 2-4), well I am a might confused as they figured to be right there before the season began. Sure, there have been injuries for these two, especially Plainfield North, but both are much better teams than what their records indicate.

Still, the game is played week in and week out on the field of play and that means student-athletes and their coaching staffs must be in top form and well-prepared. One thing I have seen this season is that some SPC Teams didn't fare too well because coaching staffs weren't quick (or clear) enough to institute changes in their game plans to give their kids a better shot as the game went on. But hey, it is way too easy for an outside observer like me to say that as opposed to what the realities of the game are in any particular week against any particular opponent right?

But one thing I do know, though, every team in the Southwest Prairie Conference this season have played with the heart of a warrior. And each and every student-athlete should be commended for the effort both on and off the field of play. And it has been a real pleasure to watch these student-athletes mature and am looking forward to tracking their success as they move on to their collegiate careers. And that is whether they play sports or not. So before this season ends, I just want to say I wish them all the best!

As for my Week Nine Predictions, well here goes:

Oswego 48, Plainfield Central 12
Oswego East 28, Plainfield North 24
Plainfield South 38, Plainfield East 21
Romeoville 27, Minooka 24

Now how many of these predictions are wishful thinking, well I am not sure. But I would like to see the SPC with 5 representatives in the IHSA State Playoffs because reaching the playoffs, regardless of what they do there, generally has a positive effect on the next group of student athletes that follow. It also translates into making the conference that much more competitive. And believe me, I am all for that!

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