DANVILLE — Once a team makes the IHSA state football playoffs, the goal for the next season is make it back.
That’s what happened this year for four Vermilion Valley Conference programs.
Bismarck-Henning, the VVC champions at 9-0, will be joined by Salt Fork (8-1), Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman (5-4) and Milford/Cissna Park (5-4) in the 2013 IHSA state football playoffs. The Blue Devils and the Buffaloes are in the Class 2A field, while the Storm and Bearcats are in Class 1A.
“It’s a little bit of a surprised,’’ said Bismarck-Henning coach Mark Dodd about entering the playoffs at 9-0 for the second straight season. “Last year, it was kind of expected. Our kids this season rose to the challenge and this is a good reward for continuing to play well.’’
After back-to-back trips into the south bracket of the Class 2A playoffs, highlighted by heart-breaking second-round losses to Marshall (2011) and DuQuoin (2012), Bismarck-Henning finds itself in the north bracket this season. The Blue Devils will open the playoffs against the Red Devils of Hall Township High School out of Spring Valley.
“Maybe going north will be a welcomed change for our program,’’ said Dodd, who knows very little about the Red Devils. “I know they are a very tradition-rich program from my earlier coaching days up at Richmond-Burton. Other than that, we are going to be searching for information all week on them.’’
While the Blue Devils are going north, the Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman Buffaloes find themselves in the south bracket where they will open on the road against the Carlinville Cavaliers. A year ago, the Buffaloes had to play the Blue Devils in the first round, a team they played two weeks earlier.
“Getting back into the playoffs was the goal of this team all along,’’ Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman coach Josh Cavanaugh said. “Getting into the playoffs is new life, it’s a new opportunity. We are elated to be in this situation and we look forward to playing a team outside of our area.’’