According to the Illinois High School Association eight metro-east teams have already clinched state playoff spots led by conference champs Althoff (7-0, South Seven Conference champ), Edwardsville (7-0, Southwestern Conference champ) and Columbia (7-0, Cahokia Conference champ.
Other teams that have already clinched playoff berths are Triad (7-0), Nashville (6-1), Highland (6-1), Civic Memorial (6-1) and Centralia (6-1).
There are 110 teams that have qualified for the playoffs and 146 spots remaining.
Probably getting in: Mater Dei (5-2), Belleville East (5-2), Central (5-2), Roxana (5-2), Sparta (5-2).
Needs wins and maybe some help, too: Wesclin (4-3), Carlyle (4-3), Marquette (4-3).
On the bubble: East St. Louis (3-4), O’Fallon (3-4), Belleville West (3-4), Cahokia (3-4), Freeburg (3-4).
East St. Louis is in a tough spot since District 189 remains on strike and the Flyers (3-4) have already endured two forfeit losses because of the labor situation. One more loss and they will miss the playoffs.
The Flyers are scheduled to play at Collinsville on Friday and then finish up the regular season at home against O’Fallon on Oct. 23. If the strike is settled early this week, the Flyers still must also satisfy IHSA by-law requirements of three organized practices approved by the East St. Louis school board and administration with approved personnel in charge per IHSA by-laws.
“I am hopeful that something good will come out of the meetings that they have this week,” East St. Louis Athletic Director Leonard Manley said Monday. “Hopefully there’s something before Wednesday so we can prepare for Friday.”
The last time East St. Louis missed the playoffs altogether was 1999, when the Flyers were 3-5.
In 2010, the Flyers qualified for the playoffs initially but were ordered by the IHSA to forfeit a playoff victory over Belleville West — plus five of its eight wins in 2010 and 10 in 2009 — for using an ineligible player.
The Flyers have won more state football championships (seven) than any area school and also own the most playoff victories, going 82-28 in 110 postseason contests.
If Althoff and Columbia both finish 9-0, they would wind up as the top two seeds in the 16-team south bracket of Class 4A, providing five-time defending 4A state champion Rochester loses to fellow Central State 8 Conference powerhouse Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin in the regular-season finale Oct. 23.
Griffin has won back-to-back 5A state titles and has five state championships since 2005.
Roxana has won five straight after an 0-2 start and O’Fallon has won three straight after an 0-4 start. The Panthers have Belleville East and East St. Louis remaining.