Football team makes playoffs again


Photo by Joseph DeFano

Plainfield Central beats Joliet Central High School 48-0 in a blowout win on Friday, Oct. 21.

Aaliyah Solano, Editor-In-Chief

With a 5-4 record, the Wildcats have secured a spot in the playoffs for the second year in a row, something that hasn’t happened in more than a decade.
They finished 8-1 last year and won the conference with a team mostly comprised of seniors.
“One of the hardest things in sports is consistency. I think that has been one of our constant focuses this year,” Keane said, “We want to make sure that each day we are playing our best football and improving.”
Their improvement has made for entertaining games.
“I really enjoy watching all of our athletes improve and luckily I get to see that over the course of 4 years,” Athletic Director Mark Krusz said.
A constant among the team is the bond between the players.
“We have a good team bond,” senior Phillip Carlton said, “We’re always getting along and having fun with each other.”
“This is a close-knit group of players,” Keane said, “Most of these guys have known each other for years, if not most of their lives. What I think speaks to their character is the way they’ve welcomed new players into the program, making it clear that as long as everyone is willing to work hard – everyone’s welcome. Whenever we’ve had players get personal accolades we see them sharing credit with their teammates, and those teammates being happy and celebrating for each other.”
A true testament to the family-like group is the strength of the bonds between players and the bond they have formed with their coaches as well.
“Keane always encourages me to do right, stay out of trouble, do good in school, and do good overall on and off the field,” senior Daniel Hollis said.
“He’s pushed us and has made us all better on offensive and defensive standpoints,” senior James Kulekowskis said.
Coaches and players have put in many hours this season, with many players having gained recognition from media outlets, specifically Friday Night Drive’s Team of the Week.
“For me, seeing our players get recognition makes me really happy and excited for them. When you see guys put in the work and dedication over the last two, three, four years – it’s awesome to see them see the benefits of that hard work,” Keane said, “I’m so proud of the efforts that our guys put forth each day.”
“I’m always very appreciative of that honor as it’s a great indication of what I’ve done and accomplished this year,” Carlton said.
“The first thing is limiting the time you spend thinking and engaging on things that don’t help make you better. Social media can be positive when we’re promoting positive things, helping to increase player exposure, recruiting profiles, and things like that. Anything that can’t help us get better we don’t want to spend any time focusing on or thinking about,” Keane said.
Social media noise aside, once the ball is kicked off and the whistles are blown, all outside noise becomes irrelevant.
“My main focus is to win the game and the next play,” Kulekowskis said, “If something bad happens on a play or doesn’t go our way I just start thinking about the next one.”
“I just make sure that I’m doing my job and that everyone around me knows what they are doing,” Carlton said.
Today the team plays Pekin Community High School away for round 1 of the state playoffs.
“I’m proud of the way we’ve had so many guys step up and work together,” Keane said.