Just two weeks ago the Boylan Titans and Belvidere North Blue Thunder played what might have been the best football game of the 2013 season.
Boylan jumped out to a 24-0 lead, but Belvidere North bolted back to take a fourth quarter advantage. Although Boylan ended up winning in a close finish, both teams wanted a rematch after that barnburner, and they’ll get it in Round 1.
“Just to have that opportunity, our whole school is excited," conceded Belvidere North head coach Jeff Beck. "I’ve seen the kids with “#BeatBoylan” all week and wearing Boylan vs North shirts so I know the whole school is excited and I know our kids are excited.
“We wanted another shot at them for giving up our big lead that we had in
there. So it’s just excited that we get another shot.”
Round 1 of the playoffs is usually reserved for two teams that don’t know anything about each other. Instead, the Titans and Blue Thunder will be revamping the same game plan they ran just 14 days ago.
“I think as coaches we kinda have some familiarity," admitted Boylan head coach John Cacciatore. "But we’re trying to get our kids to not consider all those things. We don’t want any level of overconfidence whatsoever."
“Just seeing them two times, already playing them. It gives us a better feel for the tempo and what they’re trying to do to us,” Boylan linebacker Zack Mathews admitted.
“If we know a lot about them, they know a lot about us too," said Belvidere North signal caller Jace Bankord. "So hopefully with the stuff that we know and the way that they play, we can hopefully come out and win.”
“I think it’s an advantage for both teams," Stull said. "We both know what each other runs on offense and defense. It’s pretty much who executes the most that will win this time.”
Playoff mainstay Boylan is doing everything they can to avoid overconfidence, while underdog Belvidere North knows they’re in for the fight of its life. The two teams are employing opposite mindsets as they try for the same goal – tosurvive and advance.
Because these two teams are familiar and their last game was so intense, it’ll be apacked house at Boylan. One team will have their season ended in their entirecommunity, but the right to play on such a stage is one that both teams are relishing.
“You know I think that Belvidere North is going to travel well. It’s always nice when you can get teams that travel well andyou can get fans from both sides cheering for both teams. That adds to theatmosphere," Cacciatore said.
“I think it’s something where our school and our faculty and our staff, people in the community, parents and families have been
waiting for just as much as our kids have," Beck said. "I think we’ve played well enough to earn that right and earn the right to play against Boylan.”