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Quiet, thoughtful pregame

Quiet, thoughtful pregame

“Man, you guys really take this serious.” So said our newly recruited Field Goal /PAT guy from the soccer team. We were on the bus headed to our opponent’s school and he said it out loud, to no one in particular. I just smiled and gave a quick nod. He was a good kid and did a nice job kicking for us that season. But he was a bit taken aback by the players and coaches very serious approach to our upcoming Friday night game. Not that the soccer players didn’t take their games serious – but they played 24 games on their schedule. Not only that, they were guaranteed to make the playoffs. All teams regardless of record got a regional assignment and a chance to play in the state series. It was the same for my wrestling team and ALL sports other than football. My wrestlers had 24 dual meets and 4 tournaments on the schedule. We started the state series at the end of the regular season. Our job as wrestling coaches was to get the kids peaking at tournament time. But football is different. You better come out of the chutes winning. We have only 9 games on the schedule – one a week. We had to win at least 5 to have a chance to get into post season play and 6 wins to assure a playoff spot. No room for error, every game is critical. That’s what’s different about football and why we, as coaches and players take every game so serious.

Playing Your Way In

There are some states that have a format where everyone makes the playoffs at the end of the season, but my state, Illinois, is not one of them. I like our system. Basically, 920x920only the good teams make the playoffs. In my opinion, that’s how it should be. As mentioned in the above paragraph, 5 wins gives you a good chance to make the playoffs, about a 75-80% chance of getting in. 6 wins or more guarantees it. You’ve got to play your way into the state tournament. There are 8 classes based on enrollment and each class has a 32 team bracket. The seeding is based on record and playoff points. All 9 win teams are seeded over 8 win teams. 8 win teams are seeded over 7 win teams and so on. A team gets 1 point for every opponents win on their schedule and that’s where playoff points come in. Is it possible that a 6 win team with a really tough schedule is better than a 9 win team? Yeah, that happens, but we go with it. Makes for a really fun tournament. The state association has tweaked the system over the years and I think it works. Perfect? No, but pretty good.

All Teams In

Well, if other sports can let everyone start over, why not football? Because in other sports you don’t get physically beat up like in football. And it’s a 2-3 hour game. That’s a long time to take a shellacking. If you’re 0-9, 1-8, or 2-7, you’re ready for the season to be done – especially if you’re winless. If my team is 0-9 the last thing that any of the coaches or players want to do is play a 9-0 team and get hammered one more time.


As the season’s end comes in sight remember,  we here at Chiefpigskin are absolutely dedicated to helping all football coaches get better at what they do. We have some exciting new projects coming in the off season so keep checking the site. Feel free to contact us any time to talk football. That’s what we do. To those of you that will be in post season play – good luck!

Coach L. Albaugh   –  DBLITY

Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.