OLYMPIA FIELDS | For Justus Brantley and the Bloom Township football team, this win was 22 years in the making.
The Blazing Trojans overcame Southland Athletic Conference foe Rich Central for a 21-0 win and Bloom Township's sixth win of the season. The win qualifies the Blazing Trojans for their first playoff appearance in 22 years.
Brantley rushed 20 times for 113 yards and one touchdown to go along with a touchdown through the air.
"I don't even know what to say right now; I'm so happy," Brantley said. "We haven't made the playoffs in 22 years, so now we're just happy and celebrating. But, we're ready to go to the playoffs. Now it's business time."
Bloom Township opened the game with a 74-yard touchdown drive on eight Brantley rushes. Later in the first quarter, Brantley took a Kendall McGinnis screen pass 60 yards to give the Blazing Trojans a 14-0 lead.
"We knew the field was going to be slippery," Brantley said. "We just came out here and played as one, and we finished out with a victory. That's all we wanted to do, go on to the playoffs."
The Blazing Trojans' defense was relentless all night and held the Olympians to 131 total yards. Junior Blazing Trojan linebacker Dominique Taylor recovered a third quarter Rich Central fumble in the end zone to increase the lead to 21-0 and put the game away.
"It feels very good," Taylor said of the win. "I don't know the words for it. We're loving it and we love this feeling. I love my coach. We're out here and we're playing to do something great for this school."
Bloom Township coach Tony Palombi didn't want to take any chances with only five wins in 2012 and knew the team needed to get their sixth win to secure their playoff hopes.
"I've been there before and we've lost out twice," Palombi said of failing to qualify with five wins. "There was no choice (Friday). Our back was to the wall and I told them this is our first-round playoff game right here. We lose, we're out. We win, we go."