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Playoff picture: A look at who’s in, who’s close, who’s out

Football Notebook

Six area football teams have clinched playoff berths through eight weeks of the 2021 season with a week to go.

The IHSA Playoff Pairing Television Show will reveal the 2021 football playoff field during a live telecast on the IHSA TV Network that will air statewide from 8 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Here’s a rundown of the Three Rivers Conference teams and other area hopefuls:

WHO’S IN

Kewanee (8-0): The Boilermakers are 8-0 first time since 1943 and looking to run the table to gain the No. 1 seed for the playoffs, which should fall in 3A, rather than 4A where they’ve been ranked this season.

Princeton (7-1): The Tigers will boost their playoff seeding with a home win over Monmouth-Roseville (6-2) Friday night. The Tigers were ranked No. 6 in last week’s 3A poll.

Monmouth-Roseville (6-2): The Titans lost a shot at the Three Rivers West conference championship with Friday’s loss to E-P and look to rebound against Princeton. The Titans are in the playoffs regardless.

Sterling (6-2): The Golden Warriors had their five-game win streak snapped by East Moline (38-7), but look to get back on track heading into the postseason at East Moline (4-4) in the Western Big Six finale.

St. Bede (6-2): The Bruins clinched their first playoff bid with a come-from-behind 15-12 win at rival Hall. The Bruins face Mendota (5-3) Thursday looking for win No. 7 to boost their playoff seeding. The Bruins’ losses have come at the hands of state-ranked Princeton and Kewanee.

Erie-Prophetstown (6-2): The Panthers’ 25-16 win over Monmouth-Roseville clinched the Three Rivers West crown and they close out at home Friday with a highly favorable matchup vs. Morrison (2-6).

WHO’S CLOSE

Dixon (5-3): The Dukes have dropped two straight at the hands of Genoa-Kingston (34-19) and Byron (52-35), but can clinch a berth by beating Rock Falls (1-7) Friday.

Mendota (5-3): The Trojans have dropped two straight by a combined 80-14 margin (Kewanee and Newman) since starting 5-1 and need a win Thursday at St. Bede (6-2) to clinch their first playoff appearance since 2014.

L-P (5-3): The Cavaliers lost to Morris 34-7 last week, but can still clinch a berth with a win at Friday at Kaneland (4-4).

Annawan-Wethersfield (5-3): The Titans become playoff eligible with last week’s win over Oneida (2-5) and can clinch a berth by following up with win at Mercer County (5-3), which is in the same position.

Newman (5-3): The Comets are taking care of business, beating Hall (43-0) and Mendota (24-7) the last two weeks to become playoff eligible. They face a tall task for a third straight win at state-ranked Kewanee (8-0) Friday.

WHO’S ON THE BUBBLE

Rockridge (4-4)/Orion (4-4): It will be do or die in Friday’s game between the Rockets and Chargers at Orion with the winner becoming playoff eligible and the loser likely knocked out, though some 4-5s should sneak in this year.

WHO’S OUT

Bureau Valley (2-6), Morrison (2-6), Hall (1-7), Riverdale (0-8) and Sherrard (0-8) are all out.