FOOTBALL

What we learned: 4 takeaways from Week 8 high school football around Peoria

Adam Duvall
Journal Star

Teams becoming playoff eligible, where Peoria High's loss puts them in the Big 12 Conference hierarchy and sorting out the Mid-Illini Conference race.

These storylines and more make up our top takeaways from high school football in Week 8 around the Peoria area:

Heading to the playoffs ... maybe

Those playoff spots are filling up fast and Week 8 was the perfect time to become playoff eligible or officially punch a ticket to the postseason.

Washington, Dunlap, Elmwood/Brimfield, Monmouth-Roseville and Rushville-Industry all hit the five-win mark on Friday. This means these teams are playoff eligible, but each needs a victory in Week 9 to completely assure themselves a spot in the 256-team playoff field.

Looking for scores?Week 8 high school football results from around the Peoria area

A trio of Peoria-area teams — Farmington, El Paso-Gridley and Knoxville — are now six-win teams and officially in the playoffs.

Several other area teams won this week, getting win No. 4 and securing an opportunity to get a victory in next week's regular-season finale. Look for more on those teams and who they play coming up early next week.

Peoria star running back Malachi Washington listens intently as coach Tim Thornton talks with the team after their 64-28 win over Manual on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022 at Peoria Stadium.

Big 12 title game in Week 9

Peoria High's hopes for a Big 12 Conference title were eliminated with a 30-6 loss to Normal West on Friday.

This leaves Champaign Centennial (7-1, 6-0) and the Wildcats (7-1, 6-0) playing in Week 9 for the title. A Peoria High win over West would have made for some fun scoreboard-watching next Friday that could have ended with a Peoria title, a Centennial title — or three teams sharing the crown.

Alas, the best Peoria High can do is finish tied for second with a Week 9 victory over Peoria Notre Dame.

Springboard?Peoria High football lost the conference title. Here's why that could be a good thing

Morton defenders take down Dunlap running back Graham Glover in the second half Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 in Morton. Dunlap rallied to defeat Morton 35-34 in overtime.

Mid-Illini madness

This space last week outlined the battle for second, third, fourth and fifth place in the Mid-Illini.

That picture has become increasingly clearer after the Week 8 results. First, Pekin deserves its props after wrapping up a Mid-Illini title share with its 49-6 blowout win over Limestone. The Dragons (8-0, 6-0) finish out the season by traveling to East Peoria (2-6, 1-5) next week.

Washington (5-3, 5-1) looks for its fifth win in a row when it hosts Morton (4-4, 3-3) next week. The Potters need a win to get playoff eligible, while Washington's hopes to share the M-I title are still alive if EP can upset Pekin.

More:How Dunlap overcame wind and rain to reign over Morton in a furious overtime comeback

Dunlap (5-3, 4-2) and Metamora (5-3, 4-2) are in the same boat: Both teams in need a Week 9 victory to move from playoff eligible into playoff clincher. The Eagles won an overtime thriller over Morton, while Metamora earned a forfeit win over East Peoria in Week 8.

Talk about a great way to end the regular season.

Eureka running back Mason Boles looks for room to run in the Tremont defense in the first half Friday, Sept. 2, 2022 in Tremont.

Eureka falls again

State-ranked Eureka missed out an opportunity to win the Heart of Illinois Conference - Large Division when Downs Tri-Valley won 6-0.

The Hornets (6-2, 3-1) are now on a two-game skid after last week's loss to undefeated Colfax Ridgeview/Lexington. However, that doesn't mean the signature Eureka defense didn't come to play.

Best of the week:The Peoria area's top performances from Week 8

After going a span of 23 consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown earlier this season, Eureka gave up 21 points to CR/L, then just one TD to the Vikings with 43.5 seconds remaining in the game. The Hornets are still only giving up 4.6 points a game and have pitched four shutouts.

A hungry Deer Creek-Mackinaw (4-4) awaits Eureka in Week 9, looking to become playoff eligible and send the Hornets into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak.