LANSING | Josh Gentry is like a socket wrench.
The T.F. South senior can be used in various spots, like the handy tool which has different fittings.
Gentry has played every position on both sides of the line.
"He has been versatile and has learned a lot of different positions in his two years on the varsity," T.F. South coach Tom Padjen said of Gentry. "Everything we have asked of him, he has come through for us."
What Gentry and his teammates don't want tonight to be is the end of the line. The Rebels (4-4) must win against rival Lemont (3-5) if they are to make the playoffs. South has made the playoffs 16 of the last 19 years, and Gentry said they would like to make it 17.
"This is our first playoff game technically, just like last week was against T.F. North," Gentry said. "We have to win. No questions about it. "
He said Lemont will be a tough game because the Indians will treat this as their playoff game.
"They are big and physical," Gentry said. "We know we will be in for a tough game and we have to play our best. Everybody this week (at practice) has to be on the same page, same goal."
The team has never been over .500 and has not won two in a row all season. Gentry said he and the other seniors have to make sure everyone is ready.
"That is our job," he said. "We do not want our season to end and you have to just keep your focus if you have a bad play. Not let it bother you. We have to play every play like it means something because it does."
Gentry said he knows about the T.F. South tradition and what fall Friday nights in Lansing mean. With the exception of this year, he has been part of a South Suburban Blue Conference championship team. As a freshman, then as a sophomore, he was a part of lower-level conference titles. As a junior, the Rebels shared in the SSC Blue title with Lemont and Oak Forest.
"We didn't know what it was like to not win or share conference," Gentry said. "Every single year we were champs for three years. That is the standard for this program. We expect to win, and that is not all that is expected from you."
Gentry is referring to academics, and he said the coaching staff rides them about getting their schoolwork done. On the field, Gentry, who was an all-conference center last year, has 44 solo tackles and 24 assists.
"You play here, you learn more than football," Gentry said. "Sure, they get on you and make sure you hit the books, but you are learning about discipline and doing your work. You are not here just for sports."
As for his versatility, he said it has been a plus.
"You learn a lot of different positions on both sides of the ball, and I think that has helped me," Gentry said. "I can play wherever they need me, and it is all about doing what is right to help your team."