Past 5A Champions
2006 5A Playoff Central
Welcome to Playoff Central. IHSFW.com gives you an in depth look at how the playoffs may take shape, by putting you right in the middle of our information control room. We break down who we think is the best bet to win it all and who are the most likely challengers. We also give you a list of the dark horse teams, or sleepers. Those teams that are overlooked throughout the year, but may sneak up o you in the playoffs or those pesky 6-3 & 5-4 teams that don't know when to quit. You can also get the latest info on what games you shouldn't miss each round in "The Big Game" & who the best teams in the state are regardless of class "The Big 30".
2006 Title Game Date & Time; Nov. 25th 1 pm
Favorites to win the title; Metamora 9-0, Springfield (S.H.G.) 9-0 & Woodstock
Springfield (S.H.G.) 9-0 - How did the 5A Cyclones end up in the 3rd spot? When you return a large group of talent from a 14-0 state championship team, including LB Andrew Collings. Then go 9-0 while the rest of the state suffers from a shortage of dominant teams in the upper classes you end up in the top 5. Oh, and the fact that your QB Bobby Brenneisen is your returning starter and broke all the school and conference passing records mid way through the season. That helps too.
Woodstock (Marian) 9-0 - A lot has been made about Marian's OL Brian Bulaga, but one Division I O-lineman does a team not make. The Hurricanes running backs TJ Pappas & Nikko Aguilar have benefited from having the big guy up front and are part of the reason the Caines are one of the teams in the title hunt in 5A.
Metamora 9-0 - Metamora is poised to make a run deep into the playoffs. At 9-0 the Redbirds could be in the semifinals before they face some of the top challengers for the title. Key to this will be the nasty taste left in their mouth from last year's 2nd round loss to Jacksonville.
Other Title Threats;
Geneseo 9-0 - The Leafs should still have last year's 1st round overtime loss fresh on their minds. And with a first round match up against long time rival Rochelle 5-4, a team that upset undefeated Sterling in last years 1st round, don't think this team is looking down the road to Champaign early. A possible 2nd round rematch between them and Sterling will be just the beginning of what could be a long road to the finals.
Island (Alleman) 8-1 - Last year's runner up is back and while the majority of it's starting lineup from '05 isn't, once again the Pioneers have a large front line to give them some serious shoving power right off the snap. O-linemen Ben Meersman 6'1 239 & Sahwn Irwin 6'5 225, along with TE Tony Chesser 6'4 218 give speedy running back Patrick Taylor plenty of time to find his hole. With it's lone loss in week 1 versus Driscoll 17-6, the Pioneers have been on a roll and are not the same team that started the season. The only question is will the ball bounce the same way for a team that won most of it's playoff games last year by just 3 or 4 points?
The Dark Horses;
Belleville (Althoff) 7-2 - Regardless of what Althoff's season record was, the playoffs have started and at 7-2 they've got their work cut out for them. Namely a possible 2nd round match up with SHG. With big season victories over Triad & Marion helping drive them up our BIG 30. The Crusaders' slip to Cahokia in week 8 could show that this teams' shot at the title might be a year away. The good news is that running back Jason Ford will be back for his senior year then. Of course there is a reason why they play these game & Ford and the rest of the Crusaders are a good reason why we list Dark Horse teams.
(H.S.) 7-2 - The Golden Warriors have lost just two game by a total of 4 points. The first loss was to Greendale Wis (8-1) 21-20 & the second was to Geneseo (9-0) 13-10. Sterling should be fired up for this years playoffs and will not be looking past the 1st round after last year's upset by 5-4 Rochelle.