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Daunting opener for Eagles

Caption
(Northwest Herald file photo)
Jacobs running back Steven Varela carries the ball against Cary-Grove on Sept. 21 in Cary. The Golden Eagles (5-4) will play at Boylan (9-0) in a first-round Class 7A playoff game.

Jacobs’ reward for reaching five victories and qualifying for the IHSA football playoffs is a date with two-time state champion Boylan.

But you will not hear the No. 15-seeded Golden Eagles complaining.

“No question about it, it’s a badge of honor to keep playing,” Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. “There are [321] teams turning in their equipment. You want to play the great teams. We’re going to get ready for the challenge. Everyone is 0-0 now.”

Jacobs (5-4) plays at Boylan (9-0) in a first-round Class 7A playoff game at a time and date yet to be agreed upon by both schools. It’s the Eagles’ third trip to the playoffs in Mitz’s three seasons as coach. Boylan won the Class 6A state championship in 2010 and the Class 7A title last year.

The playoff pairings were announced Friday night without too many surprises for local teams.

Also in Class 7A, No. 10 Huntley (6-3) plays at No. 7 Fenwick (7-2) and No. 11 Crystal Lake South (6-3) plays at No. 6 Lake Zurich (7-2).

In Class 6A, Cary-Grove (9-0) received the top seed in the northern half of the bracket and will play at home against No. 16 Rockford Auburn (5-4), while Crystal Lake Central (7-2) is the No. 4 seed and plays host to No. 13 Chicago Hyde Park (6-3).

Marian Central (9-0) is No. 2 in the northern half of Class 5A, which is stacked with traditional powers Kaneland, Montini and Joliet Catholic, and will play host to No. 15 Wauconda (5-4). No. 7 Woodstock North (6-3) plays host to No. 10 Sterling (6-3) in another Class 5A game, with the winner facing the Marian-Wauconda winner in the second round.

In Class 4A, No. 6 Richmond-Burton (6-3) travels to No. 3 Chicago Harper (7-2). In Class 1A, No. 10 Alden-Hebron (6-3) plays at No. 7 Forreston (7-2).

Huntley coach John Hart and his staff thought Fenwick was a team the Red Raiders could see in the first round.

“Our goal was to just get in the playoffs,” Hart said. “You know you’ll see a good team no matter who you play. We’re in for the fourth time in school history, and we don’t just want to be here, we want to compete.”

R-B was Class 4A state runner-up last year and had won five consecutive games before falling to Harvard, 14-12, on Friday.

“We’re still playing,” Rockets coach Pat Elder said. “Harvard had a good plan and did a good job. We just have to come back now and improve. We have a new day.”

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