Eye on the IL: Playoff preview
By Toriano Porter PrepsKC staff writer
It is playoff time for teams in the Interscholastic League, including a first-round district matchup between the league's champion and its previous repeat champion.
East, winner of the 2015 regular season IL crown, will play host Friday at IL Stadium to Lincoln Prep, two-time league champion from 2013-14.
The Bears, 5-4 overall, finished 5-0 in the six-team IL. They are the No. 4 seed in Class 3 District 8.
Lincoln completed its regular season slate with a 4-5 mark, including 2-1 in the IL. The Blue Tigers are the district's No. 5 seed, but will enter district play without its top offensive weapon and starting cornerback.
“We lost Dewayne Clayton due to broken ribs,” head coach Henry Newell said. “Dewayne is probably our best football player.”
Despite being dethroned as league champions, Newell said the team is excited to begin postseason play.
“Last year we went to the district semi-finals and we expect the same this year,” Newell said. “It has been a tough season with our schedule but the playoffs are a new season.”
Northeast begins district play on an 8-game losing streak after winning the first game of the season. An opening-round game against undefeated Maryville, 9-0, awaits the Vikings in Class 3 District 8 action.
The Spoofhounds are the state’s No. 1 ranked team in Class 3 heading into postseason play and seeded first in the district. Northeast is seeded eighth.
“Obviously, Maryville is a very good team being No. 1 in the state of Missouri,” Northeast head coach Kevin Bair said. “They’re big, disciplined, and well-coached. I think we have a good game plan going into the game, but we’re going to have our hands full and need to focus on the little things to have success against them.”
Bair added the pressure is on Maryville to handle business. The Vikings are relishing the underdog role.
“This is the first time in a while our kids have played a game without any pressure on us, so it will be fun to see how well we can execute when we’re loose,” Bair said.
Southwest Early College Campus, 3-5 overall and 2-1 in league play, will get a shot at redemption when it opens Class 3 District 7 play against Hogan Prep.
Second-seeded Hogan, 9-0, defeated the seventh-seeded Indians earlier this season, a fact not lost on head coach Roger Franks or his squad.
“The difference between playing sports and life is that in sports you get a second chance,” Franks said. “Saturday will be our second chance to do something special.”
African Centered College Prep, 1-7, 0-4, will also seek retribution in its Class 2, District 4 matchup Saturday at Summit Christian Academy.
The seventh-seeded Knights were knocked off 30-19 earlier in the season by the second-seeded Eagles, 8-1 and 3-0 in Crossroads Conference play.
“My kids are going into this game with a lot of confidence, ACCP head coach Leon McElrath said. “This team beat us about three weeks ago, 30-19. We had three trips inside their 10 yard-line, and only came away with seven points. It would have been a different game if we could have scored another TD inside the 10.
“They will get some of their starters back that they didn’t have last time we played. Overall, if we come to play, and play like were capable of doing, it should be a very good game.”
Kansas City Central enters postseason play with a 2-6 record, including a 2-2 mark in league play.
The Blue Eagles, seeded eighth in Class 3 District 7, will face top-seeded Odessa (8-1) to open district play.
Ruskin Golden Eagles
Olathe South Falcons
North Platte Panthers
William Chrisman Bears
Lees Summit Tigers
Blue Valley Northwest Huskies
NOAH Tulsa, Okla.