By Chris Johnson, REPORTER

 With a season ending mark of 4-5, the Belvidere Bucs missed the 2016 post-season. They joined with many other NIC-10 squads who were home on opening night, including cross-town rival Belvidere North. The final game was played for a handful of veteran players, preparing to move on after graduation. Many of the Senior-athletes on this year’s Belvidere Bucs Boy’s Football Team have already set their focus on the Winter Sports Season. Basketball, wrestling, and other activities will keep the students moving along. Football is over. The memory of the season and how fun it was being alive to the end won’t fade for a while. Disappointment at what could have been will rise and fall. Soon, so will the basketballs and pins.

A slow start hurt the Bucs this year. Optimism built late in the season. Eventually it became apparent the playoffs were possible. A loss helped set up the late push and modest win streak. Belvidere won two in a row and got to the ninth with a chance. The focus seemed to be re-established for the final third of the season after Belvidere lost to the Harlem Huskies on Sept. 30. Some Coaches say a loss can help a student athlete, sometimes more than a win will. Week seven meant a chance to put the plan into place. Guilford waited. The Vikings were sunk by a score of 42-35. Belvidere moved back within one game of .500.

Freeport appeared next on the schedule and the Bucs found their greatest offense of the season. The win by nearly 40 was highlighted by the 62 points the Bucs put up in the win. It also pushed their season mark to 4-4. Now, only Rockford East stood in the way. The E-Rabs’ 4-5 mark kept them one game short of qualifying. Entering the game they were 3-5. The playoffs weren’t going to happen. They had won two games more than last season already though and were playing strong. The E-Rabs helped forge the Conference Championship this season. They helped hand the NIC-10 to the Auburn Knights in the form of a Co-Championship.

On Oct. 7, East beat Boylan 20-14. The chance to be a spoiler existed again in week nine against Belvidere. A loss to the Rockford East E-Rabs 49-20 stalled out the late season playoff push. Belvidere didn’t make it, but some Conference mates did. Auburn, Boylan, Hononegah and Harlem all got the call to play on opening night.

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