BOVENKERK, BRADLEY A
For a team with 20 consecutive playoff appearances, stagnant doesn’t seem like the right word. For a team with three consecutive conference championships, it doesn’t seem to fully fit. For a team that hasn’t had a losing season since well before any of its players were born, it might not be the first word to come to mind.
But for the Normal Community football team, you could make a case.
In Wes Temples’ tenure as head coach, the Ironmen have clinched 8 straight playoff berths. Never advancing past the second round.
Last year it was a 31 – 9 loss to 7A opponent Wheaton Warrenville South. The year before it was a loss in 6A to East Saint Louis 38 – 16. Ottawa Township 38 – 17 in the first round. Peoria Richwoods 45 – 10. It goes on.
You could make a case for stagnant.
That was up until yesterday.
That was up until a 42 -21 win over 7A opponent Maine South.
For the first time in his career as head coach at Community, Temples is preparing for a twelfth game of the season – an appearance in the quarterfinals. The team’s first such playoff since the 2007 season under Hud Venerable.
Sometimes streaks are broken. Sometimes new streaks are begun.
Maine South’s head coach David Inserra knows that. A team with 3 straight 8A State titles from 2008 – 2010 now finds themselves missing the quarterfinals for a fifth consecutive year.
Temples’ Ironmen (10-1) will meet the undefeated Libertyville Wildcats on the road, Saturday at 1 p.m.
In a sport where streaks are, well streaky, what does undefeated really mean?