The Boylan Titans, like many teams in the Stateline, will begin their playoff journey Saturday afternoon. The Titans will host Glenbard South in a Class 5A matchup. The Titans will be trying to snap a playoff drought in that game.
No Boylan football team has won a playoff game since 2013. The players on this squad are well aware of that. “Coach has definitely been using that to fuel our fire a little bit more,” says Boylan defensive lineman Brady Wright. “That’s something that we’ve always known. That’s our own motivation too.”
“Obviously it’s a big deal,” says Boylan safety Tim Fey of trying to end the drought. “It says something about our school and about our organization and that’s something that we’ve been working for all summer and obviously all this week to go out there and change and command the ship.”
The Titans ship has been cruising most of this season. They went 8-1. Their only loss was a hard-fought battle against NIC-10 champion Hononegah. Since that game the Titans have won five straight games. They’ve outscored their last four opponents 176-12. They’ve done that despite having a lot of players banged up with injuries. That’s no longer the case.
“There was a part of our schedule that was so brutal, we had so many guys down and out the last few weeks,” says Boylan head coach John Cacciatore. “We’ve been able to find our way to get healthy again and be able to approach this game the same way we started the season with everybody able to participate.”
The Titans will need a full roster Saturday against a Glenbard South team that is far better than it’s 5-4 record would lead you to believe it is. The Raiders are the smallest school in one of the largest conferences in the State in terms of enrollment the Upstate Eight Conference.
Their regular season losses were to three teams that are in the Class 8A playoffs West Aurora, Bartlett and South Elgin, and to one team that’s in the 7A playoffs Glenbard East.
Cacciatore says Glenbard South’s record is, “Incredibly misleading. They are I think the smallest team in that conference. The largest team is a 4,000 person school and a 3,500 person school and everybody else is 2,000 plus. It’s the equivalent of playing Hononegah and Harlem every week plus somebody who’s twice their size.”
Cacciatore says Glenbard South reminds him of Harlem. “They have some quick things that they do. They’ve got really good skill kids and good receivers.”
Fortunately for the Titans their defense is top-of-the line. The Titans gave up the fewest points in the NIC-10 this season. They’ve posted three shutouts and they believe that their best is yet to come now that they’re healthy.
“I believe our defense is playing at a high level, but I believe there is another potential and more for us to achieve,” says Fey.
Wright agrees, “I think that we’re playing at a really high level. We’re obviously disciplined. We’re putting in maximum effort.”
“There’s nothing but pride for how coach Sal (defensive coordinator Bryant Salamone) and the boys put the defense together,” says Cacciatore. “I think we’ve got the right guys over there. They’re playing the right style of football at the right time of the year. Now the question is, like everybody else in the state of Illinois, is how does it match up to the rest? Everyone’s wondering how strong is everyone else’s conference? We won’t know that until Saturday at one.”
The Titans will be competing at the 5A level for the first time. Previously they’ve been in class 7A or 6A, but Boylan’s declining enrollment and Boylan’s lack of playoff success in recent seasons has dropped the Titans down. The Titans say 5A is where the IHSA has put them so they’ll just go out and play.