By Chris Johnson

Sports Correspondent

By a final score of 30-29, the Stillman Valley Cardinals doubled their season win total following a thriller over the Rock Falls Rockets. The back-and-forth contest would push late into the night. In the end, Stillman Valley got it done. The victory improved the Cardinals’ overall mark to 2-5. The playoffs won’t happen. Even in a situation where back-to-back wins occur. The schedule just didn’t allow it this year. With a run-out win situation to missing by one game could be tough to handle, but there is a big difference in this year’s 2-5 Cardinals and other area teams who carry the same mark. One more shot at a win would have gotten them in. Looking back at the season it is hard to say where that win could have been found.

Stillman Valley beat North Boone by five points in the season-opener. They were expected to win. They were favored. Following the 1-0 mark, things got really difficult. In consecutive weeks Cardinals lost to five-playoff bound teams. In week two, 5-2 Winnebago won by ten. In week three 7-0 Byron rolled. Week four was a crossover battle with the Kishwaukee River Conference. The eastern offering was 7-0 Johnsburg. It was back to the Big Northern for the Cardinals in week five, where 7-0 Genoa-Kingston was waiting. The streak ended at home in an eight-point loss, 26-18 to 5-2 Dixon.

The win over Rock Falls by Stillman Valley might also be remembered for a while by the Rockets’ faithful. Now with their record at 3-4 they have to think about having to win out to make it to the post season. This week they face the Dixon Dukes who are playing to secure a seat in the post season. In week nine, Rock Falls faces Woodstock North in McHenry County. Outside of a long ride, the Thunder sit with a mark of 5-2, which includes a win over last season’s 3A semi-finalist, Marengo. They are going to the playoffs too.

This Friday night the Cardinals host for the final time this season. The Oregon Hawks have not seen success in the newly-revised Big Northern Conference. They enter week eight with a 1-6 mark.

The 2016 season closes for Stillman Valley at Rockford Lutheran. The Crusaders take on Winnebago this week and could find themselves looking at the chance they won’t make it to the State Tournament. A win by Winnebago this week and a win by Stillman Valley in week nine will drop the Crusaders season mark to 5-4. They may have enough playoff points to get in, but it has yet to play out. The possibility that six of the Cardinals’ opponents get in this year exists, with two weeks to go.

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