DANVILLE — When the football season begins, one of the primary goals for every team is making the IHSA State Playoffs.
That’s because unlike other sports where every team is eligible for the state tournament season, in football, a team must qualify for a postseason berth. The magic number is five victories to become playoff-eligible or a team must win its conference championship.
“Reaching the playoffs is a an accomplishment for teams,’’ said Westville coach Guy Goodlove, whose team is 3-4 on the season. The Tigers need wins in their final two regular season games to become playoff-eligible. “We believe that we have plenty of playoff points (the IHSA tiebreaker) if we can get ourselves to five wins.’’
After considering that the Tigers started the year at 0-4, winning the final five games of the regular season to making the postseason would be a remarkable turnaround.
“We will have certainly earned our spot in the playoffs, if we can get to five wins,’’ Goodlove added.
Under the current IHSA setup, the top 256, regardless of class, will make the playoffs. Teams are first chosen by conference champions, and then comes all teams with six or more victories. The remaining spots will be filled with teams reaching the five-win mark. Those teams are ranked by playoff points (opponent victories) and if there is a still a tie for the final spot, those teams are then ranked by number of wins for the teams that each squad defeated during the year.
“Coming into the season, you know that every game during the season matters,’’ said Milford/Cissna Park coach Clint Schwartz, whose Bearcats at 3-4 will need two more victories.
In the Vermilion Valley Conference, the Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils and the Salt Fork Storm have already secured their spots in the playoffs. The Blue Devils, winners of 20 straight regular-season games and 15 straight conference games, has secured a share of the conference title and they will be the league’s representative in the playoffs. The Storm, who are 6-1, is guaranteed a playoff berth with six victories.