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The Student News Site of Prospect High School

ProspectorNow

The Student News Site of Prospect High School

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Qualification complete

The+Prospect+Knights+run+down+the+field+during+a+kickoff+against+Buffalo+Grove.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Priyanka+Shah%29
The Prospect Knights run down the field during a kickoff against Buffalo Grove. (Photo courtesy of Priyanka Shah)

Step one, qualify for the state playoffs. Step one is complete. After beating Elk Grove on Friday, Oct. 6, the Prospect varsity football team reached five wins and qualified for the state playoffs. While it may feel expected that the team makes the playoffs every year, this is still a big step every year for the team. It’s the number one goal the team has when they start the season each year, according to head football coach Dan DeBoeuf, and it’s very important to begin postseason competition.

“It was a feeling of relief, and that’s step one of the process done,” senior football player Nate Tader said. “And now we’re ready to make the run.”

Making the state playoffs is a complicated process. Every team plays nine games during the regular season, so winning five games makes them eligible for a spot in the postseason. This spot, however, is not guaranteed, as there will be too many teams with five wins for all of them to make the playoffs. In order for a team to guarantee themselves a playoff spot, they must win at least six of the nine games. 

Now, some teams with five  wins will still make the playoffs based on a point system that involves how many wins their opponents have. For example, Prospect played Barrington in one of their games. As DeBoeuf explained, Barrington will end up with nine wins this season, unless something goes horribly wrong. That means that Prospect will get nine points. The amount of points they have at the end of the regular season is the sum of the number of wins of each of their opponents. However, after beating Buffalo Grove last Friday, Oct. 13, the team reached six wins and will not have to worry about the point system. They have clinched a playoff spot.

The team’s next goal is to gain home field advantage for the first game of the playoffs. As of Thursday, Oct. 19, they are now 6-2 and heading into their game against Wheeling on Friday, Oct. 20. A win against Wheeling will likely give the team home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs, as a 7-2 record is usually enough to clinch home field, according to DeBoeuf. 

After the first round, however, home field advantage rotates a little bit. Usually a team who plays a home game the round before goes on the road the next game. Prospect needs two things to happen in order to play two games in a row at home: they need to play a team who also played a home game last round, and they need to be the higher seeded team between the two.

All of the games will be played at schools’ stadiums until the state championship, which will be played at Illinois State this year. That means the first four rounds of the playoffs (first round, second round, quarterfinals, and semifinals) could all potentially be played at Prospect.

For now, the Prospect team is simply focused on each game. Last week’s game against Buffalo Grove was important, not only to earn home field advantage, but also as a confidence boost for the team.

“Both teams were 5-2 going into that game so … we were expecting a little bit closer game, but we blew them out,” Tader said. “And so that just gave us a lot of confidence and really showed what we can do…”

The big goal for the team, though, is to go far in state. In order to do that, they are just focusing on one week at a time.

“[We just go] week by week. Just buy seven more days with the boys,” Tader said. “And just make it to the next week. That’s the goal each week.”

Offensive line coach and special teams coordinator Tim Beishir agrees with Tader, and he elaborated on the team’s playoff mantra of “Buy seven.”

“Once you get in the playoffs, the goal is just simple. We start saying it. It’s just ‘Buy seven.’ We want to buy seven more days together,” Beishir said. “Or else, the team ends and we’ll never be together again.”

Using this idea of trying to stay together as a team has helped the team bond in preparation of their playoff run. The bitter taste of last year’s exit in the second round, when they had been to the semifinals the year before, has also helped fuel the team, as have the senior leaders on the team.

“The types of relationships that you build with our seniors is a really special relationship,” DeBoeuf said. “And when you start thinking about that you’re not going to be able to coach those kids again, that’s when you start to really feel the gravity of the postseason.”

Currently though, the team is trying to ensure that they stay healthy. As DeBoeuf points out, staying healthy and having your best players available to play is a big part of being able to win in the playoffs. The team will need all their best players in order to compete at a high level in the postseason. The team believes they have the pieces in place to make a run into the later rounds of the game, and Beishir is excited to see where the team can go.

“When the games start having names, like quarterfinal, semifinal, that’s a nice place to be,” Beishir said.

Updated as of Monday, 10/23 at 6:00: Prospect will play Buffalo Grove at Prospect on Friday, 10/27 at 7PM. 

Click the link to buy tickets: https://gofan.co/event/1181972?schoolId=IL15628

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About the Contributor
Danny Martinez, Executive News Editor
Hi my name is Danny Martinez, and I am a senior. This is my first year on the Knight Media staff. I am the executive news editor for the newspaper (The Prospector) and a sports reporter. I often work the camera for football games as well. Other activities I am involved in at Prospect are soccer, track and field, scholastic bowl, and Knight’s Way, and I am an emcee. Outside of school, I like to spend my free time playing or watching sports and hanging out with friends.

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