BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (Sept. 28) — Next week is Homecoming at Normal Community High School in Illinois. The Ironmen from Normal Community on Friday defeated the Purple Raiders from Bloomington High School, 49-28, here on BHS’s new athletic facility for their Homecoming, and moved to 5-1 on the season, putting them in a position to clinch a playoff berth on Homecoming weekend.
The Ironmen were up by only six points at halftime, 21-15, but the offense scored on their first four possessions in the second half, making their journey to the night’s final score a quick and decisive one, the Bloomington Pantagraph reports.
Many of the student-athletes on the field look forward to this game every year, as they’ve been playing on local teams for years.
The paper quoted first-year Bloomington coach Scott Godfrey as saying he had heard about the game “from the minute I was hired. I don’t know that there is anything you need to say to your players to get them ready. They played football with these kids in JFL, with or against. They all know each other and they all look forward to this game.”
Playoff clinchers in Week 6
Because the Illinois High School Association awards playoff berths to football teams based on each team’s win-loss record and because teams in Illinois tend not to compete very often with out-of-state schools, it’s a mathematical impossibility for a qualified team with six or more victories not to make the playoffs.
A total of 56 teams have already qualified for the football playoffs this season by virtue of playing in a playoff-eligible conference and having won six games already:
Upgrades at Bloomington High School
According to a sign in front of the school and a hoodie logo, Bloomington High School was established in 1857. But District 87 invested more than $5 million in upgrades this year, including building a new fine arts facility and improving the football field, The Aegis reports.
“It is a very visible commitment to the students of District 87 by the board of education,” the student newspaper quoted band director Max Chernick as saying about the new facility. “The administration is investing in the school to show that great things are happening within its walls. From the arts to athletics to academics, BHS is a well-supported place of learning, and the board wants to make sure the learning environment is top-notch.”
That level of support doesn’t go unnoticed. “It’s a beautiful place,” the Pantagraph quoted NCHS coach Jason Drengwitz as saying. Like Godfrey at BHS, Drengwitz is a first-year head coach. “It’s a great facility that they’ve got … very impressive.”
And when schools make such vibrant investments in academics, arts, and athletics, it pays off. The Bloomington Purple Raiders lost their game today, but the team is 4-2 on the season and will almost certainly qualify for the playoffs.
The marching band, in the middle of a full marching season, with halftime shows at home football games like the one tonight and performances at numerous festivals and competitions, entertained the crowd with a show entitled “Bella Notte.” The show capped off with an arrangement—visual and musical—of Elton John’s “Your Song.”