On The Fence
Bobby Leach "The Rooster" | 11/6/2013, 4:01 p.m.
For three more area football teams, their season ended with a first round playoff loss last week that will likely live with each participant for many years to come. Not necessarily in a negative way but the "would've, could've and should've" game we all play when we suffer a loss will haunt players and coaches like it or not.
Despite the season ending losses suffered by Plainfield South, Plainfield East and Romeoville, there is an awful lot more good than bad in their seasons and while these teams may not have a trophy to show for it, their efforts this season where tremendous.
For Plainfield East, the playoff birth was their school's first ever appearance in the post season after dominating early in the season and earning their sixth win to crack the IHSA 7A playoff bracket. Unfortunately for the Bengals, they drew a perennial post season powerhouse in Lincoln Way East who finished as state runner-ups in 2012. A bit of a mismatch in the opening round but a game that will likely be a measuring stick for future Plainfield squads who are now charged with picking up the ball and running farther with it in the coming years.
Personally, the team I felt made the most progress was that of Romeoville and the amazing single season turnaround. Only a year ago, the Spartans were a dismal 0-9 and had extended their playoff drought beyond a decade. Enter 2013 and not many gave Romeoville an honest shot of reaching a post season birth with so many years of futility chasing them but that logic was tossed out the window with their week nine win over Minooka on the road.
Romeoville's head coach Jeff Kuna like that of Plainfield East head coach Mike Romeli are eternally optimistic every single season I have covered them as a local sports writer. Both are eager to point out their teams strength and both coaches work tirelessly to put their players in a position to win every off-season.
I can only imagine how much each of these coaches and their staffs put into a season when fan attention is elsewhere and the next season seems far off or criticism they each have been exposed to during the losing seasons endured. It is nice to see two good coaches finally get the credit they are due even if they still here grumbling from the stands after the playoff loss.
Coaching in the "Now Generation" has to be among the most challenging environments in which to teach but like many other coaches, when they lose they get the blame and when they win it was all about the players. I suppose that's how it should be, coaches always take the heat and why not? After all they are the adults but let's face it, the impact made on their players personal development can never be measured by a scoreboard. Win, lose or draw, I have to tip my hat to all the good coaches in our area on a season well played.