ROLLING MEADOWS – Second-year Rolling Meadows Coach Matt Mishler was concerned that despite a 7-2 record this season, a relatively low number of playoff points could have had the Mustangs on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
However, when the Class 6A playoff pairings were announced, Mishler and the Mustangs were relieved to see that they earned a No. 7 seed and a home playoff game Friday night against 10th-seeded Lake Forest. The game will be shown on CN100, The Comcast Network, at Noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, and 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29. You can also find the game throughout Chicagoland with Xfinity On Demand.
“We’re really excited about it,” said Mishler, who led the Mustangs to a 6-4 record and a playoff appearance in his first season at the helm last year. “We weren’t sure if we were going to get a home playoff game. When we found out, the kids were extremely excited about it. The whole school is jacked up.”
One of the main reasons for all the excitement is quarterback Jack Milas, a Ball State recruit. He has thrown for 2,255 yards with a remarkable 69 percent accuracy rate. He has thrown 29 touchdown passes to only seven interceptions.
“He’s a stud,” Mishler said. “His strengths are his accuracy and knowing where to throw the ball.”
Mishler said the talent Lake Forest has on defense, as well as a scheme which involves multiple types of coverage and disguises, presents most challenging defense they have faced all season.
“Our quarterback is going to have to be on his game, but there’s nobody else I’d rather have do it than Jack,” Mishler said. “They threaten us in the pass game more than we have been this year. They’re a lot like us.”
Andre Campbell is Mishler’s top target in the passing game (47 receptions, 554 yards) and senior running back Steven Royster keeps things balanced in the backfield (753 yards, 10 touchdowns rushing; 22 receptions, four touchdowns receiving).
Rolling Meadows comes in winners of five of its past six games and has gone 2-2 versus playoff teams this season. In the Mid-Suburban East, the Mustangs scored more points (318) and allowed fewer points (165) than any team in the conference, which led to them tying Prospect for the title.
Lake Forest had two heartbreaking late-season losses which prevented them from defending their North Suburban Lake title. A 22-16 overtime loss to Stevenson and a 21-18 loss to Warren, both playoff teams, pushed the Scouts to the road for the first week of the playoffs.
Things were made even more challenging after the Scouts had to forfeit their Week Four game against Lake Zurich due to a teacher’s strike. But they managed three more wins the rest of the way, including a convincing 33-13 win over playoff qualifier Libertyville to reach the postseason.
Running back Steven Cirame leads the way for the Scouts. Quarterback Andrew Clifford’s main targets in the passing game are Brian Murphy and Scott Powell.
“I think they’re solid,” Mishler said. “I don’t think it’s like a typical 7-10 game, I think we’re evenly matched. I think it will be a great game.”
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- Paul Johnson, CN100 Correspondent
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