MIKE NIETO: The bigger (football) playoff picture

2012-10-11T18:00:00Z 2014-08-13T22:32:14Z MIKE NIETO: The bigger (football) playoff pictureMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
October 11, 2012 6:00 pm  • 

The Bloom Township football team and coach Tony Palombi know five wins may not be enough.

In 2007 and 2008, the Blazing Trojans were 5-4, but did not have enough playoff points to qualify for the postseason. Even after upsetting Thornton in each of those years, Palombi uttered those disparaging words, "We're not going to have enough points to get in."

The Blazing Trojans are 5-2 and a win at Rich East Saturday would give them their first playoff berth since 1989. Actually, it would be the first postseason appearance since Bloom and Bloom Trail high schools merged their programs in the 1990s.

"We got to take care of first things first," Palombi said. "Rich East is a very good team, well-coached, and they are fighting for a playoff spot, too. They have Crete-Monee next week, so I am sure they would like to clinch, too."

The Rockets are 5-2, as are the Blazing Trojans. A team gets one point for each win of its opponents.

"We need six wins because that leaves no doubt," Palombi said. "We told the kids they have a chance to make history, but we also know nothing is given. We've had a good year so far, but we have to finish up strong with Rich East and (Rich) Central. If we don't, we have no excuses."

Another team which really has its back to the wall is Washington. A teachers strike deprived the Chicago Public Schools of a game and the Patriots are 3-3 and need to win their last two games to be considered for postseason.

Homewood-Flossmoor (5-2) is one win from clinching a playoff berth. The Vikings play at Joliet West Saturday, then host Sandburg for the regular-season finale. The Vikings should be in with five wins based on strength of schedule as they have accumulated 32 playoff points. However, coach Craig Buzea will have his team ready for Saturday, but at H-F, like most winning programs, just making the playoffs is not enough.

The playoff picture is a little clearer as Crete-Monee (7-0), Mount Carmel (6-1), Thornton (6-1) and  T.F. South (6-1) have all qualified, but are not going to play out the string. All four have a chance to win their respective conferences and they are playing for a good seed. Crete is playing for its second straight undefeated regular season on this, the 60th anniversary of the program's first undefeated team.

It will all come together on the night of Oct. 20 when the pairings are announced. I guess we can speculate which class some schools will be in. T.F. South is on the Class 6A-7A bubble. Thornton should be 7A, but you never know.

Then we can debate about which teams will go where and possible second-round match-ups. Remember, we have to see who is in and who goes where first.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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