Following Saturday's 17-7 loss to Huntley, Bartlett quarterback Jordan Flint reminded his teammates via Twitter that "85 percent of Bartlett football teams have lost their first game and still made playoffs."
Flint is right. No area team has a better track record of making the playoffs after losing its first game than Bartlett.
Entering this season, the Hawks were 4-12 in season openers since the program began in 1998, including 9 straight losses to nearby DuPage Valley Conference power Glenbard North between 1999-2007. Bartlett rallied to make the playoffs in 10 of those 12 years, or 83.3 percent of the time.
Last season -- when the Hawks lost their opener and missed the playoffs with a 3-6 record -- was a rarity.
The loss to Huntley means Bartlett must win 5 of its remaining 8 games to become playoff eligible at 5-4. The upcoming schedule includes three 2013 playoff teams (Notre Dame, Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley). The other five remaining opponents missed the playoffs a year ago, but three opened the season with victories: Metea Valley (45-28 vs. Plainfield North), Glenbard East (41-14 at Willowbrook) and South Elgin (49-14 at St. Charles East).
"It's a tough road. We've got to beat some teams people don't think we can beat," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. "We just have to come out and play. We're better than we were last year, no doubt. We just have to be more consistent."
Fall nesting grounds: It isn't unheard of for a high school football team to play 6 of its 9 regular-season games at home, but it is unusual for all 6 to be played consecutively, ala the Jacobs homestand that begins Friday against St. Charles East.
In subsequent weeks the Golden Eagles will host Whitney Young, Grayslake Central, Dundee-Crown, Huntley and Cary-Grove. They don't hit the road again until Oct. 17 at Crystal Lake South. Jacobs closes the regular season at McHenry.
The schedule did not include a 6-game homestand when it was drawn up. The Week 3 game against Whitney Young was originally scheduled to be played in Chicago, but Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said he agreed to that matchup with the stipulation it be played on the high-quality surface at Lane Tech Stadium. Otherwise, both sides agreed to play the game played in Algonquin, he said.
However, Lane Stadium was quickly booked for Week 3, largely due to nonconference matchups between the Chicago Public League and the DuPage Valley Conference, whose six members needed to pick up extra games this season due to the departure of Glenbard East and West Aurora for the Upstate Eight.
Mitz said a 6-game homestand is a first for him in 32 years as a head coach, and he won't mind the experience.
"It's always great to be at home, without a doubt," he said. "Hopefully, the people in the community will be excited and come and support us."
The Golden Eagles lost 37-0 in their opener at Barrington, a Class 8A state quarterfinalist that returned 15 starters. Jacobs lost to Barrington 22-15 in 2013 and went on to finish 7-2 overall and 6-0 in the Fox Valley Conference.
Speed pays: There aren't many players in McHenry County faster than Huntley cornerback Connor Boos, who saved a touchdown Saturday in a 17-7 win against Bartlett.
The Red Raiders led 10-0 with 20 seconds left in the first half when Bartlett receiver Bryce Petty took a screen pass and followed three blockers up the sideline.
Petty was a member of two relay teams that qualified for the state track meet last spring, but the Red Raiders have a burner of their own in Boos, who qualified for state in the 100- and 200-meter dash. He ran the sixth-fastest sectional time in the state in the 200 (21.91) and ran the 100 in 10.88. Boos has been timed at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
The Huntley senior ran through traffic and hauled down Petty after a 66-yard gain to the 6-yard line. A Bartlett penalty at the end of the play moved the ball back outside the red zone.
Huntley reaped the reward of Boos' hustle 2 plays later when Bartlett missed a 28-yard field goal at the halftime horn.
"Connor Boos made a touchdown-saving tackle by running all the way down. Just outstanding," Huntley coach John Hart said. "It's nice to have that 4.5 guy back there."
Quote of the week: "He freaks me out. He scares me because he'll hold the ball carelessly with one hand while running with it, then he'll throw across his body and complete an amazing pass. He'll give me a heart attack." -- Elgin coach Kyle Rohde on dynamic junior Terrance Miller-Allen, who in less than two quarters at quarterback fumbled twice in a 36-22 loss to Dundee-Crown but also ran for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns and completed 10 of 14 passes for 146 yards and a score.