TAKE 2: Crucial games for three playoff hopefuls in Week 7
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 if Week 7 features must-win games for some area teams.
Jacobson: Steve, for the first time all season our area teams combined for a losing record, going only 2-3 in Week 6 with Sycamore and Kaneland both remaining undefeated.
But with both of them having already clinched playoff berths, we'll turn our attention first to the other three area teams, all of which are 3-3. A team needs five wins to be playoff eligible. Is Week 7 must-win territory for Hiawatha, DeKalb and Genoa-Kingston if they have hopes of making it to the postseason?
Nitz: The only team I really think faces a "must-win" game this week is Hiawatha. This is due to the fact the Hawks have to deal with 5-1 Rockford Christian Life next week. The Eagles' defeated 4-2 Alden-Hebron, whom the Hawks play Saturday, 56-0. Christian Life also played unbeaten Ottawa Marquette tough, losing by just 12 points. Considering how tough an opponent the Eagles will be I'd say Hiawatha needs a victory this week..
In the case of DeKalb and Genoa-Kingston, I believe both teams have a shot at defeating their last two opponents. The Barbs play at Yorkville and host Rochelle, while G-K does get unbeaten Harvard Week 8 but visits Marengo the final week of the season.
Jacobson: Agreed. Hiawatha has the toughest schedule remaining out of those three teams. Don't forget, they have to play a 4-2 Chicago Hope team in Week 9 as well. It certainly won't be easy for the Hawks, who have been banged up all season, to get to five wins after the loss to Luther North last week.
While it may not be "must-win", I do believe this is a huge game for DeKalb because it's at home. The Barbs are hosting a Morris team that is down compared to previous seasons, plus DeKalb is coming off a home loss to Kaneland. A loss would send them on the road to Yorkville, where the Foxes will likely be seeking a fifth win and a playoff berth. It's never easy facing a desperate and motivated team.
With that being said, the most important area game of the year might be the Week 8 matchup between Sycamore and Kaneland. Any chance either of them aren't undefeated after tonight?
Nitz: Kaneland isn't losing to Yorkville, though I don't think it would be a complete shock to see the Hubs upset the Spartans. Rochelle is a consistently good program that is off to a good start, with its only loss coming against Kaneland. The Hubs' running game is always good, so Sycamore will have its hands full.
However, I still see the Knights and Spartans heading into next week unbeaten.
Jacobson: Agreed. Three years ago in 2010, Sycamore and Kaneland met in Week 8 in a battle of 7-0 squads. I think we're in for an encore. The Knights have overcome an injury to senior RB Jesse Balluff in recent weeks while the Spartans continue to be impressive on both sides of the ball.
That should be a fantastic game next week, but I'm sure some surprising storylines will emerge out of Week 7 first.