On one hand, the Richwoods Knights will surely be fired up as they look to renew their long standing rivalry with Peoria High Friday night at Endres Field. On the other, it will be somewhat bittersweet as a long list of Seniors will take the field for their final regular season home game. These players have put forth blood, sweat and tears over a four year span and have been vital in maintaining the Knights' long standing tradition of excellence on the gridiron. They are to be commended for their efforts.
Central will present a formidable challenge. After a rousing 3-0 start to the season, they have now dropped the last three and will be hell bent on turning around their fortunes against the Knights. They are led by quarterback Orlando Hernandez, running back B.J. Harris and receiver Jermon Jones. At times, their offense has been unstoppable and the now vaunted Richwoods defensive unit will have their work more than cut out for them. The Knights hope to be on the mend from several nagging injuries, including but not limited to Kiontre O'Neal's ankle sprain. While O'Neal departed last week's game at United Township early, there was a silver lining in that junior Nate Keeton came on to have an outstanding game rushing the ball in his stead. Richwoods is looking for their fifth straight win which would make them playoff eligible.
In other action Friday night, Notre Dame will host United Township and is also looking for that precious fifth victory. Finishing their season against Manual and at Rock Island means the Irish cannot afford any slips.
Meanwhile, the Mid Illini Conference is up for grabs as Washington, Limestone and Metamora all remain at the top with unbeaten league records. Something will start to give this week as Washington visits Limestone in what should be a hornet's nest in Bartonville. These three will go head to head over the next three weeks which should make for an exciting end to the regular season.
Two other Mid Illini teams are in an intriguing position as well, namely Pekin and East Peoria. Both had high hopes coming into the season, then lost key players to injury. Both are 3-3 overall at this point and certainly could still wind up in the playoffs with a run to cap off the season. Both are hopeful of getting their main play makers back this week as well in the likes of Cole Henderson for the Dragons and Michael Thompson for the Red Raiders.
All in all, while the regular season may be drawing to a close for our local teams, the excitement level is simply rising with each passing week.