Friday, October 26, 2018

PREVIEW - (14) Joliet Catholic @ (3) Metamora - Round 1 Playoffs

The Redbirds huddle up just after taking the field for their Week 8 game against Washington.
Metamora, Ill. - It's the most wonderful time of the year. For football fans in Metamora anyway. Saturday, the Redbirds (8-1) (6-1) kick off against Joliet Catholic (5-4) (4-3) in the opening round of the 5A State Playoffs. Here's a comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know before making the drive to Malone Field.

  • Saturday, October 27th
  • @ Malone Field - MTHS
  • 6:00 pm Kickoff
  • Gates Open at 4:30 pm
  • Admission | $5 (Set by the IHSA)
Opening Kick
  • Consistency | The Redbirds qualified for the playoffs this year, marking the 23rd time in the last 25 seasons the Redbirds have advanced past Week Nine. 
  • Hey, we know you | These two teams have met in the playoffs before, but it has been awhile. Back in 1999 and 2000, this was the 4A Title Game matchup. The Hilltoppers won both meetings.
  • Last Time Out | The last time these two programs met was also their last postseason meeting. The Redbirds and Hilltoppers met in the 2000 4A State Championship Game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, the site of this year's State Championship as well. JCA won the 2000 meeting, 27-14.
  • About Last Week | The Redbirds rolled to victory, getting a 41-point win over Canton (47-6) to finish the 2018 regular season with an (8-1) record on senior night. It marks the 29th time in program history and 19th time under Coach Pat Ryan that the Redbirds have had at least eight wins in a season. 
  • Playoffs? | With a Week Six win over Morton, the Redbirds officially clinched a spot in the 2018 Playoffs. It's Metamora's first trip to the playoffs since 2016, when they lost at Morris in the 5A Quarterfinals.
  • Seeds are Sown | After last Saturday's Playoff Pairings Show on NBC Sports Chicago, each and every playoff team from 1A-8A found out their seed and opponent. Metamora was given a three seed, Joliet Catholic a 14. 
  • Lots of W's | 1,182 wins are the grand total in all-time wins between Metamora and Joliet Catholic. Joliet Catholic Head Coach Jake Jaworski (JCA '02) had this to say. "Wow, that's quite an impressive number right there. I'd find it hard to believe any other matchup in the first round has anything quite like that."
  • All Good Things Must Come to an End | With the 30-15 loss to Washington in Week Eight, it ended Metamora's hopes of continuing their undefeated season. It was Metamora's first loss since October 6th of last season at Dunlap. The last home loss was September 8th of last season against Morton. 
  • Lucky 13 | The visiting Hilltoppers have won 13 IHSA State Championships. Seven at 4A, five at 5A, and one at 6A. 
  • At the Helm | Metamora Head Coach Pat Ryan is in his 29th season at Metamora, and enters Saturday's game with a career record of 264 wins and 70 losses. Joliet Catholic Head coach Jake Jaworkski is in his second season at JCA, and enters Saturday with a career record of 8 wins and 10 losses.
  • Once a Player, Now a Coach | Jake Jaworski is a Hilltopper alumnus ('02). He played on both the 1999 and 2000 teams that beat Metamora in the State Title games. Jaworski says he was called up as a sophomore in 1999 and started in 2000. He played defensive back in that 2000 season, wearing the #4 (see the end of the story for a picture).
  • Tradition Never Graduates | 2018 is the 73rd season of Metamora Football. The program has brought in 522 wins to this point, beginning with a (4-4) season under Sherwood Dees in 1946. The Hilltoppers are in their 99th season of football, a total of 670 wins in program history. They started in 1920 as Joliet De La Salle, going (0-5-1) under Head Coach Earl Gilfillan.
Back in Time:  Did you know that you can watch the entirety of the Metamora and Joliet Catholic meetings in 1999 & 2000? The IHSA Archives is the place to go. Here are the links for the 1999 and 2000 games.
Joliet Catholic Head Coach Jake Jaworski back in 2000 as a defensive back for the Hilltoppers.
PHOTO / IHSA Archives
IHSA TV Screenshot from the final score of the 2000 meeting between Metamora and Joliet Catholic.
PHOTO / IHSA Archives

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