Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson and sports reporter Steve Nitz spend their days covering the area’s sports scene. Occasionally, they give their viewpoints on those local sports. In this installment of their Take 2 column, they discuss which teams are destined for the playoffs.
Jacobson: It was another banner week for our football teams. The five local schools combined to go 4-1 on the week and now all of them have a winning record.
Kaneland and Sycamore are playoff eligible after each moved to 5-0, but Hiawatha, Genoa-Kingston and DeKalb all have some work to do at 3-2. Teams need at least five wins to get into the postseason and then strength of schedule would be the tiebreaker if needed.
With four games to go, which teams do you forecast making the playoffs?
Nitz: The Knights and Spartans are obviously locks at this point, while the other teams can go either way. I’m going to pick one out of the three teams you mentioned, I like DeKalb to play in Week 10. The Barbs will have to navigate through a tough Northern Illinois Big 12 East schedule, but I think they have a good chance to beat Morris, Rochelle and Yorkville. The Redskins are down this year, losing to Yorkville for the first time since 1962.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Cogs or Hawks as playoff teams, but at this point I think both come up short with some tough teams ahead of them.
Jacobson: I said before the season that every team would improve on their 2012 record, and it certainly looks that way. However, I didn’t think we had five playoff teams. Now, I do.
Even though Hiawatha, Genoa-Kingston and DeKalb face tougher schedules ahead, there are reasons to believe all three will manage to win two of their last four regular-season games. DeKalb’s offense is getting better each week, G-K is rolling after a slow start and Hiawatha still is dealing with injuries, but hopes to be healthy down the stretch.
What reservations do you have about G-K and Hiawatha?
Nitz: The schedules. Three of Hiawatha’s final four opponents have winning records, and the team the Hawks play this week, Luther North, has a victory over Mooseheart. The Cogs face two unbeaten teams, Winnebago and Harvard, and still have to beat a solid North Boone team, as well.
Now, G-K should beat Marengo in Week 9, but I don’t think the rest of the Cogs’ schedule will allow them to make the playoffs.
I’m not going to be surprised if you’re right and all three teams make it. I also wouldn’t be surprised if all three missed.
Jacobson: Looking at the schedules a little bit deeper, I don’t agree. Luther North has been inconsistent, hence its 2-3 record, and Harvard hasn’t beaten a team as good as Richmond-Burton this season. The combined records of Harvard’s opponents this season is 5-20.
All three of those teams have played more road games than home games to date and still managed a winning record. Hiawatha and DeKalb end with three of their last four at home while G-K has two left on the road and two at home.
They all should be able to get the job done, accumulate five wins and make the postseason.