Familiar first-round playoff foe awaits Cavaliers Friday night

Familiar first-round playoff foe awaits Cavaliers Friday night

In the Know ‘17

Carlinville Cavaliers Football Playoffs 2017

East Alton-Wood River Oilers (7-2) vs. Carlinville Cavaliers (8-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, Carlinville High School

Television/radio: Game can be heard on WSMI-FM 106.1 and WBGZ-FM 94.3, also on 89.9 FM

Last meeting: 2016 playoffs – at Carlinville 76, EAWR 19

Last week: Carlinville lost at Greenville 35-28; East Alton-WR defeated South Mac 32-14.

Coaches: EAWR – Garry Herron, third season (14-14). Carlinville – Chad Easterday, 10th season (79-29)

About the Oilers: Making their second straight playoff appearance after going without a playoff berth from 2007-2015…Oilers’ two losses came in week one at Breese Central (48-41) and at Alton Marquette week four (47-0).

About the Cavaliers: Chad Easterday’s bunch makes the postseason for the 10th straight year under his head leadership and 11th straight year overall…Cavies have won first-round playoff game five straight years, and went to the Class 3A state title game last year…Had won 13 straight conference games until last week’s loss at Greenville.

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CARLINVILLE (Oct. 26, 2017) – While ending the season with a loss at Greenville may have hurt the Carlinville chances at a top-four seed in the Class 3A playoffs, they do get to host a first-round playoff game as the postseason gears up this weekend.

Carlinville is the No. 5 ranked team in the south quadrant in Class 3A, and takes aim at another strong postseason run Friday night against the East Alton-Wood River Oilers. Game time is 7 p.m.

The Oilers are in the playoffs for a second straight year after going eight years between playoff berths. Both times, EAWR will travel to Carlinville. Head coach Garry Herron is 14-14 in his third season, having gone 6-4 last year and 7-2 this season.

Last year’s first-round playoff game was all Cavaliers in a 76-19 victory over the Oilers.

This time around, the Oilers have some familiar faces from last year, including senior quarterback Justin Englar, who has completed 33 of 65 passes for 784 yards and 11 touchdowns without an interception.

The ground game is led by 1,000-yard rusher senior Zack Womack, who had 1,017 yards on 99 attempts with 16 touchdowns.

Receiving, the Oilers have a steady balanced attack. Womack has 10 catches for 312 yards and four touchdowns.

For Carlinville, the realization that a perfect season and a outright conference title went out the window last Friday with a 35-28 loss at Greenville.

The Cavies still come into this game with a balanced offensive attack, although without the one fearful opponent that they had with Jacob Dixon last year.

Junior Jarret Easterday has set school records for passing yardage and touchdowns in a single season through nine weeks.

Easterday has completed 130 of 193 passes for 1,899 yards and 22 touchdowns to just four interceptions.

The ground game, while not as potent as last year, can still get the job done behind a plethora of options.

Junior Tucker Hughes, despite missing three games to injury, still rushed for a team-high 429 yards and eight touchdowns on 76 carries.  He and junior Matt Schmidt have done a solid job in the kicking game for special teams.

Right behind Hughes is junior Ethan Wallace with 407 yards on 47 touches and six touchdowns. Senior Garrett Campbell has rushed for 327 yards and seven touchdowns, and sophomore Colton DeLong has 163 yards and four touchdowns.

Junior Kyle Dixon leads a corps of wide receivers who have come into their own this season.

Dixon has a school-record 60 catches on the season, amassing 774 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Junior Jake Ambuel has caught 27 passes for 467 yards and five touchdowns. Senior Donovan King has 18 catches for 314 yards and three scores. Senior Josh Hinzman has 299 yards on 16 catches and three touchdowns.

Carlinville is one of five South Central Conference teams to advance to postseason. They other four are grouped in the bottom half of the Class 3A south brackets. Greenville, the 10th seed, travels to Sesser-Valier; Hillsboro, the 14th seed, travels to Anna-Jonesboro; and Vandalia, the 15th seed, travels to Fairfield.

Pana, the sixth seed, hosts DuQuoin.

South Mac at Tri Valley

The only other Macoupin County team to register for the playoffs is in its first year as a program, the Bunker Hill/Mt. Olive co-op, South Mac Chargers.

Despite losing their final two games to Alton Marquette and East Alton-Wood River, the Chargers finished 5-4 and got the number 14 seed in Class 2A. Which means, a trip to Downs Tri-Valley on Saturday, located between Bloomington and Champaign off I-74.

“We feel like playing tough competition like Wesclin in the early season and ending with Marquette and Wood River prepares us well for the postseason,” said South Mac coach Brian Borkowski. “Both Marquette and Wood River are 3A playoff teams, so facing that level of competition was like a playoff game for us.”

The Chargers have had a solid offense, and nearly beat unbeaten Trenton Wesclin on the road in Week One, losing 36-33 after leading 33-21 in the second half.

Johnny Darrah leads the Chargers with a county-best 1,243 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. Damin Jones adds 425 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns. Braden Morris has contributed 153 yards on 13 carries.

While Morris started the year at quarterback, Quentin Kosowski has taken over the reigns the last few weeks under center. He has completed 21 of 47 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions.

Nick DeVries has a team-best 22 yards receiving on seven catches. Bryce Parish has 161 yards on 10 receptions.

Tri-Valley, state champs two years ago, are no slouch.

“Their main running back is Zach Woodring and he is the main threat we need to contain,” Borkowski said. “We feel like playing against teams that feature a great ground attack like Marquette and Wood River prepares us well for what we’ll see on Saturday.”