By Christopher Johnson


Hononegah entered the week ranked in the top 10 and pushed up even higher as the fall campaign closed courtesy of the 44-12 win over Rockford Auburn in week eight.

This past week Hononegah moved to 8-0 on the season and assured it will be home on Oct. 29 when the 2021 Class 7A State Playoffs open.

The NIC-10 leading Indians have to finish strong first and that is expected to happen this Friday night in the regular season finale at home against Rockford Jefferson.

Hononegah had entered the week ranked in the top 10 and pushed up even higher as the fall campaign closed courtesy of the 44-12 win over Rockford Auburn in week eight.

The Oct. 15 meeting in west Rockford was a favorable outing for the NIC-10’s best and soon to be undisputed champion of the large-school conference.

The Knights weren’t able to figure out how to consistently slow down Hononegah’s assault. The Indians marched when they wanted and took over the skies when desired.

As the first quarter played through, Hononegah’s control on the night built and the team knew it would soon be standing alone at the top of the NIC-10 with no team within a game of them and only one game left on the regular fall campaign.

Festivities on offense continued through the second quarter and into the third. Before the final minutes came into view, the visitors had managed to build and hold its 30-point edge.

As the night ended, Rockford Auburn fell out of consideration for inclusion in the 2021 post-season as it collected its fifth loss of the year.

Hononegah’s 8-0 mark makes them a “near-automatic” to secure the one seed in the 7A Tournament Field following this Friday night’s expected knockdown of the Jefferson J-Hawks.

Rockford Jefferson dwells in the cellar of the NIC-10 and has not found an offense that was conducive to success, even into its week eight showdown with the co-Rockford residing East E-Rabs.

Through the season Jefferson found scoring chances diminish week after week, with the exception of a bit of a scoring shift during the first trimester of the season.

Since putting up 12 points against NIC-10 third-place resident, 6-2 Belvidere North, Jefferson hit the skids, scoring 14 points on offense over a four-game span.

Hononegah, over that period put up 118 on its opponents, winning by an average of 25 points a night, much more when excluding the week five and six showdowns with Rockford Boylan and the Blue Thunder.

The Indians are expected to roll past Rockford Jefferson this Friday night in Rockton and, as a result, move to 9-0 on the season.

That mark will guarantee a number one seed for the 7A powerhouse and could potentially earn them the honor of being the overall number one seed over the tournament field.

The IHSA Selection Committee will be meeting following this Friday night’s week nine game against Rockford Jefferson and will determine the starting position for all qualifying teams.

Committee decisions will also revolve around which teams, at 5-4, are deemed the strongest candidates to include in the post-season as an at-large option.

Playing through the NIC-10, at this point of the season with one game to go, Hononegah, Harlem and Belvidere North have guaranteed their placement with a qualifying sixth or greater win.

Rockford Boylan and Rockford East, with 5-3 marks could get into the tournament if each wins their final regular season game.

Even a loss by either NIC-10 member could get them into the field of play because of determined playoff points and strength of schedule.

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