DANVILLE — Getting a matchup against Normal Community in the Big 12 Conference football tournament didn’t surprise Danville interim coach Mitch Thomas, it was just the circumstances.
The Vikings, who are officially 3-0 on the season after picking up a forfeit win this past weekend after the Urbana Tigers cancelled it season, earned the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament.
The Peoria High Lions, who are also officially 3-0, moved into the No. 1 seed with a 70-28 victory over Peoria Richwoods. The tiebreaker was point differential as the Lions were a positive-57, while the Vikings were a positive-33.
But, the surprising part for Thomas is that Normal Community is seeded seventh. The Ironmen are officially 1-2 after a 12-6 loss to Bloomington this past week.
“Normal is traditionally one of the powers in the Big 12 Conference,’’ Thomas said. “I’ve always been a believer that when you get into the playoffs of a tournament setting like this that you have eventually have to beat the best teams, so why not play one right away.’’
Honestly, the Normal Community seeding is not only a result of their loss last Friday to Bloomington, who had to win to make the tournament as the 8th seed, but also because the Ironmen were forced to forfeit its week 2 game against Quincy Notre Dame because of coronavirus issues.
“It’s also our understanding that Normal Community was without some of its players for the game against Bloomington,’’ Thomas said. “We know that we are going to get a very good football team here on Friday night.’’
Kickoff for the quarterfinal contest between the Vikings and the Ironmen is set for 7 p.m. this Friday night at Ned Whitesell Field. Once again, the attendance will be limited to 25 percent capacity or 650 people. The game will streamed on the Danville YouTube Channel and it can be heard locally on WDAN-AM 1490.
Other first-round matchups in the Big 12 Tournament have Peoria High hosting Bloomington on Friday night, Quincy Notre Dame playing at Peoria Notre Dame on Friday night and Champaign Centennial hosting Normal West on Saturday.