ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)– 14 of the last 16 years either Hononegah or Boylan has won or shared the NIC-10 Championship in football. When these two teams go head-to-head there is a lot riding on the outcome. That’ll be the case again Friday night in Rockton in our ‘Overtime’ Game of the Week.
When the Titans and Indians are on the same field unusual things happen.
“Every year it seems like we play these guys it comes down to a field goal or something, something crazy at the end,” said Hononegah defensive coordinator and acting head coach Marc LaMay.
“If there’s not something that’s surprising to all of us this Friday night, I would be the one surprised,” said Boylan head coach John Cacciatore. “You almost have to expect the unexpected when you go into these games.”
Last year’s game did come down to a field goal. Bryce Goodwine’s 36-yarder with one second left on the clock gave the Indians a 16-14 win.
This series has been very even in recent years. Boylan and Hononegah have split their last six meetings. It’s a game that the players get extra fired up for.
“It’s a nervous and exciting process,” aid Boylan senior defensive end/tight end Max Montoya. “I love it! There’s a lot more pressure on us.”
“Everybody wants to play in big games like this,” added Hononegah quarterback Cole Warren. “This is what everybody’s been expecting the whole season.”
“Man, I’ve been looking forward to this since last summer, said Hononegah slot/cornerback Isaiah Houi. “I mean, it’s Boylan! Two great teams!”
The Titans already have one conference loss suffered three weeks ago at Belvidere North. They can’t afford another one. Since that loss, they have been focused. Last week the Titans’ defense had nine sacks and shutout Auburn.
They were hungry after the game that we had where we gave up some points early in the year to that North team,” said Cacciatore. “That puts a little chip on your shoulder. I think our kids have responded.”
What stands out about this 5-0 Hononegah team to the Titans?
“Their whole team,” said Montoya. “They’ve got a good, solid team there. They beat us last year, so that’s definitely what we’re coming after.”
“As far as we’re concerned it’s the best Hononegah team ever assembled,” said Cacciatore. “It doesn’t take you but a couple of minutes to see that they’ve got some really dangerous pieces.”
The Indians did fall behind in the first half the last two weeks against Freeport and East. They know they need to start better against Boylan. They know they have to play their best four-quarters of football this season.
“They’ve got athletes everywhere,” said Houi of the Titans. “It’s going to be tough for us. We haven’t really played teams with that many athletes.”
“They’ve got great players,” said Warren. “They’ve got great linebackers, great D-linemen. Their corners are great.”
“I think the biggest thing with them is their depth,” said LaMay. “They have guys, athletes at every position, and they move them all around really, and that’s kind of what strikes fear into you.”
LaMay by the way, is acting as Hononegah’s head coach again this week while head coach Brian Zimmerman continues to rebound from a medical issue.
Watch for highlights and analysis of this game Friday night on ‘Overtime’ live at 11 p.m. on Fox 39 (‘Overtime’ is rebroadcast Saturday night’s at 11 p.m. on Fox 39. That start time could get pushed back a bit depending on how long the college football game on Fox runs).