Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015
Win and Carterville's In
CARTERVILLE -- Heading into the final week of the high school football regular season, six southern Illinois teams still need wins to assure themselves a spot in the playoffs. At 5-3, Carterville finds itself in that group.
A week eight pounding of playoff bound Anna-Jonesboro has the Lions in position to make the postseason. Carterville is already eligible with five wins but needs a victory at West Frankfort Friday night to secure a spot.
"It's really exciting to know that our destiny lies in our own hands and we can make or break our season," Lions junior quarterback Michael Aschemann said.
After starting the season 0-2, Carterville has won five of its last six games. Their only loss in that time was to conference champion Du Quoin. Despite finishing second in the River-to-River Mississippi with a 4-1 record, the team will likely need six wins to play in week 10 due to a lack of playoff points. They currently have 33. Last year's cutoff was 40.
"You know you've got to get to six wins," Lions head coach Dennis Drust said. "Last year we got five wins and had a pretty good football team at the end of the year and didn't make the playoffs. So, I think that was part of the focus of our kids this year."
Before last year, most of the team was still in diapers the last time the Lions missed the playoffs. Breaking the 16-year streak provided plenty of motivation to get back to the postseason.
"It's very important for us," Lions senior linebacker Shane Caudill said. "It's a Carterville tradition for us to go to the playoffs and we want that to start with us and continue through the other classes."
"I thought that we would definitely make the playoffs last year and this year people had less expectations for us," Aschemann added. "So for us to make the playoffs this year I think is really big for the program."
With 26 juniors, the Lions are still a young team. Primed to start another long playoff run.
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