Antioch ready to make a playoff run
For the record, Burbank is a suburb in Cook County on the southwest edge of the city of Chicago. It's just north of Oak Lawn.
Now, the Antioch Sequoits know.
On Saturday night, as the IHSA announced the pairings for its football state playoffs, Antioch coach Brian Glashagel doubted that his players had even heard of Burbank, let alone knew where it is.
Antioch, which is a sparkling 9-0 and earned the No. 2 seed in Class 6A, its highest seed since a No. 2 seed in 2008, will host No. 15 Reavis (5-4) from Burbank next weekend in the first round of the state playoffs.
"I'm pretty sure Reavis has no idea where Antioch is either," Glashagel said with a laugh. "But I kind of like that. It's like the old school playoffs when you got a game and you knew nothing about the other team, and we don't know anything about Reavis.
"We've played football for 100 years at Antioch and I don't know if there has ever been an Antioch-Reavis game."
In what is likely the first meeting between the two schools, the Sequoits, who are winning games by an average of 35.7 points per game, will be heavily favored. Reavis has lost three of its last four games, is allowing 26.9 points per game and had to qualify for the playoffs on points by winning its season finale Friday against Oak Lawn.
"We've gotten better every week and we have so many weapons," Glashagel said. "We've been continually preparing for every scenario we could face this season. I think this team is ready. There's a good vibe around us right now."
A win by Antioch in the first round could pit the Sequoits against sister school Lakes, which is 7-2 and earned the No. 7 seed in Class 6A. Lakes will host No. 10 Belvidere North, which is 6-3.
Antioch defeated Lakes in Week 8 (43-24) to cinch the Northern Lake County Conference title. If Lakes would defeat Belvidere North, Antioch would host Lakes in Week 2 of the playoffs.
One other Northern Lake County Conference team earned a playoff berth in Class 6A.
At 5-4, Wauconda made the cut on playoff points and earned the No. 16 seed. The Bulldogs are pitted against No. 1 Cary-Grove, which boasts a 9-0 record and has been mentioned as a favorite to win the state championship.
"We're playing a great team in Cary-Grove, but when you're worried more about your opponent than yourself, you're not giving yourself a chance to compete," said Wauconda coach Dave Mills, whose team has made the playoffs three of the last four years, but missed last year. "They've built a great program there (at Cary-Grove), and we are trying to build something like that and this is a great chance for us to see where we're at. But we just have to go out and compete like we have been lately."
Wauconda had to win its last two games (against Round Lake and Grant) in order to have a chance to qualify for the playoffs on points.
The Bulldogs finished with 39 playoff points and the cutoff was 38 points.
Grayslake North, also of the Northern Lake County Conference, made a valiant run at the playoffs, winning its last five games after losing its first four games. The Knights were playoff eligible with a 5-4 record, but missed the playoff points cutoff with only 37 points.
No. 13 Lake Forest made the cut in Class 6A at 5-4 with 42 points and will face No. 4 Phillips (7-2). Another Lake County team to get in at 5-4 is Zion-Benton, which is the No. 32 seed in Class 8A and will hit the road to face No. 1 Brother Rice (9-0).
Also in Class 8A, North Suburban Conference champion Warren (8-1) got the No. 8 seed and will host No. 25 Neuqua Valley (6-3) while No. 28 Stevenson (6-3) will hit the road to face No. 5 Marist (8-1).
Warren's No. 8 seed is one of its highest in program history.
"It's exciting and we really feel like our conference has gotten us ready," Warren coach Bryan McNulty said. "We've got five teams (out of eight) in the playoffs and there are no cupcakes in our league. When you play in a conference like that, it really prepares you to be able to reap some benefits in the playoffs.
"I think we are ready. This is a group that is very business-like and we really don't care who we play. We are just ready to play anyone and we are looking at just one game at a time."
In Class 7A, defending state runner-up Lake Zurich will hit the road to take on No. 10 DeKalb (8-1). The No. 23 Bears finished with a 6-3 record and ended the season against two of the weakest teams in Lake County in Mundelein and Waukegan. But the Bears are hoping that the rest of their schedule, which includes six playoff teams, will be good preparation for another deep playoff run.
"I think we play in a great conference and play some great opponents," Lake Zurich coach Luke Mertens said. "So I think we're going to be prepared to go play some more good opponents."