By Chris Johnson


A lot could be read into the Boylan Titans’ 17-14 win over the Hononegah Indians on Friday night, Sept. 9, but that a conference title was just lost, because of a loss, is not one of them. There is a lot of football to be played and a lot of things have to happen, before a towel is thrown on a season.

Losing because of a field goal or safety, or kick-return for score as time expires, isn’t as great of a reality at some of the smaller school-football conferences in northern Illinois. In the NIC-10, large-school division, it seems to prove much more important. Hononegah fell to 2-1 on the season with the loss and remains one game behind Harlem and Boylan in the standings.

The Indians were getting their first downs and the defense was making a difference in its NIC-10 clash. Hononegah was handling the always-dangerous Titans. By avoiding mistakes, the field remained level. As statistics are deciphered, it can be shown that on Friday night, Boylan was slightly better. They will see their conference lead put to the test this week, however, as they face the NIC-10 co-conference leading Harlem Huskies.

Hononegah plays host to Belvidere North. A 1-2 start is where the Blue Thunder find themselves. A third loss on the season could be critical in getting a chance at a game at home, when the playoffs start on Oct. 28.

Concerns of the post season aren’t facing Belvidere North Head Coach Jeff Beck just yet, though. There is a good chance that he and his team know, that by the season’s end, the Blue Thunder won’t qualify as a sub-500 team.

In the season opener, Belvidere North scored a point shy of 50. In the past two games, however, the Blue Thunder amassed just 31 points. Over those same two weeks, losses were caused by 2-1 Belvidere and 2-1 Auburn. On Friday, Sept. 9, Belvidere North lost to Auburn 31-7.

The schedule will get easier for Belvidere North following its week six match against Guilford. Freeport and Rockford East will probably see their own problems controlling the Blue Thunder, when the teams meet in back-to-back weeks in October. Belvidere North was 6-3 in 2015 and qualified for a road game in the playoffs. With a win in week eight, Belvidere North could again be looking at making it into the post-season.

Many variables exist however, as teams only begin week four of the season. It is known that if the Harlem Huskies take down the Boylan Titans this Friday night and Hononegah defeats Belvidere North, they will move to 3-1 on the season and find themselves tied with Boylan and others for second place in the NIC-10, just one game behind Harlem. Hononegah faces Harlem in week eight in Rockton, on Oct. 14.

Boylan will have its handful with Harlem this Friday night. It could be arguably the most important game of the season. Harlem is good at home and the Titans are facing the co-conference leaders on their home field. The Huskies also present one of the top defenses in the conference. Points will have to be earned.

If Boylan defeats Harlem, they will have a full game lead on everyone in the conference. In reality, the NIC-10 could face capture after things clear up, following this Friday night’s games. Win to stay alive, unless Boylan does it.

Hononegah will remain in discussion, as it continues to win.

The 2016 fall season wraps up for Hononegah with three games against teams who carry 5-22 records from last season, before settling in for an Oct. 21 finale against Belvidere North.

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