Normal Community, along with Normal West and Central Catholic, will be shooting for automatic football playoff berths Friday. (Photo by B Corbin/You Name It Sports)
By Bryan Bloodworth
BLOOMINGTON - Five football teams from the WJBC 1230 AM and 93.7 FM listening area can assure themselves spots in this year's Illinois High School Association playoffs with victories Friday in the final week of the regular season.
The group includes Intercity teams from Central Catholic, Normal Community and Normal West along with Mahomet-Seymour. All the teams have the playoff eligible minimum five victories, but a sixth win would give them automatic berths.
Normal Community and Normal West, both with 5-3 records, have Big 12 Conference games against teams lower than them in the league standings. NCHS entertains winless Champaign Central, while West travels to Champaign Centennial. The Chargers have a 2-6 mark.
Meanwhile, Central Catholic treks to Decatur Eisenhower and Mahomet-Seymour is at Effingham in non-conference games. Eisenhower has a 1-7 record, while Effingham is 2-6.
Deer Creek-Mackinaw needs a victory at home against El Paso-Gridley to reach the five-victory plateau. The Chiefs have a 4-4 record, while El Paso-Gridley is 2-6.
Teams with five victories are at the mercy of the point system to make the playoffs. After all the automatic qualifiers are determined, the remaining at-large berths go to schools with the most points. Those points are determined by the number of victories by team's opponents during the regular season.
Heading into the final week, 94 of the 256 total berths are available for the eight-class playoffs, which begin next week. Pairings will be released beginning at 8 p.m.Saturday.
Area teams that have already earned automatic berths are Bloomington University High, Prairie Central, Tri-Valley, LeRoy, Tremont, Flanagan-Woodland-Cornell and Ridgeview.
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Bryan Bloodworth can be reached at email@example.com