DeKALB – No matter the outcome of tonight’s game at Rochelle, DeKalb will be going home for the postseason.
As has been the case for much of the past two decades or so, with the exception of 2010, the Barbs won’t be playing a 10th game.
Despite DeKalb (2-6), which had high hopes at the beginning of the season, losing its first four games, first-year coach Todd Hallaron’s team still feels like it has a lot to play for when it travels to Rochelle today for the final game of the regular season.
Even though it’s the Hubs who are fighting for playoff position, there still is one big goal the Barbs want to accomplish.
DeKalb has scored 233 points so far this season. Last year, the Barbs’ total of 262 points was the most they had scored in a season since 1996 – the first year the IHSA started updating point totals on its website. DeKalb wants to get a win, while scoring 30 points to break last year’s record.
“That’s something that we were talking about pregame against Yorkville, is where we’re sitting,” Hallaron said. “You try to find the positives, the positives in what you’ve done so far for the season. Our offense has been pretty decent.”
If last week’s game against Yorkville is any indication, the Barbs could break 29 points and reach a goal they’ve talked about. DeKalb scored 41 of its 47 points in the first half last week in a shutout win against the Foxes.
DeKalb offensive lineman Joe Diedrich said the team finally is getting comfortable in Hallaron’s system.
“Once we started to learn it, we started to click. Against Streator was when we started to learn it. Against Kaneland, [Morris], those are two really good teams, but we showed some life in those games,” Diedrich said. “And then against Yorkville, it really just came into fruition.”
Through eight games, Hallaron’s defense has only given up 19 less points than what last year’s team allowed. So, it’s not out of the question DeKalb could score more points than last year’s squad and give up less points than a team one win away from the playoffs.
Even though DeKalb is just playing for pride at this point, Hallaron said his team is a couple of bounces away from competing for a playoff spot.
“I think we’re a couple away from having five (wins) and being in the playoffs,” he said. “I don’t think we’re really all that far. We had a couple of what I consider, (games) where the balls didn’t bounce our way.”
There also is optimism for the future in DeKalb. The Barbs will return quarterback Jack Sauter, running backs Dre Brown and Dylan Hottsmith and receiver Drew Paszotta.
DeKalb’s freshman and sophomore teams also have identical 7-1 records.
In 2009, the Barbs took down Rochelle in Week 9, and continued the success the next season, making the playoffs for the first time since 1989. Sauter said a win could help the team in 2013.
“I think it will no doubt carry momentum into the season next year. I think everyone on our team feels that we’re better than 2-7, 3-6, whatever we end up being,” Sauter said. “We saw it Friday – Yorkville’s not a great team, but they’re not a bad team. We just came out, fired on all cylinders and played a really great game, and we have the ability to play at that level against anyone.
“I think if we can get two wins at the end of the season, especially one against Rochelle to end the season, it will definitely help the confidence for next year.”