I can’t think of a worse recurring fan complaint than people saying the NIC-10 should kick Boylan out of the conference. Yet those people won’t go away. I got another e-mail Saturday morning after Boylan won its 47th consecutive league game with a 49-7 drubbing of previously unbeaten Hononegah.
Don’t blame Boylan. Blame the nine teams that can’t beat Boylan.
Last year, Boylan lost in the first round of the playoffs to a 5-4 team from Wheaton North.
The year before, Boylan edged a 5-4 team from Libertyville in the first round, before getting routed 28-0 by Crystal Lake South in the second round.
The year before that, when Boylan truly had a loaded team, the Titans barely beat a 5-4 Mount Prospect team 14-7 in the first round, and the Prospect coach complained nonstop that they were robbed.
If 5-4 teams from the suburbs can compete with Boylan, the problem is NOT Boylan stealing all the talent in the area.
Back when Boylan WAS a top five or six team in the state, the conference did have teams that could go toe-to-toe with Boylan. The same goes true for Boylan basketball. Belvidere won two state titles in the early 1990s. Hononegah made it to the state semifinals in the late 1990s. Guilford reached the state title game in basketball in the early 1990s — something Boylan has never done.
Boylan has won ONE state title in its entire history of the school and that’s in boys golf.
No one talks about kicking Stillman Valley out of the Big Northern or Dakota out of the NUIC. Stillman if favored to win its 5th state title in 12 years and Dakota could win its third in six years.
Stillman treats state title games like Boylan-Auburn games, winning 52-22 last year. That’s a team rivals can’t compete with.
The NIC-10′s problem with Boylan is Boylan’s problem with the NIC-10. It’s not that Boylan is too good, it’s that the NIC-10 isn’t good enough. A stronger conference would have no problems competing with Boylan. And Boylan would grow stronger from the competition and cope better with the rest of the state.
A decade ago, two or three teams from the NIC-10 could whomp on the best teams from the Crystal Lake area in both football and basketball. Now, the Fox Valley Conference has passed the NIC-10 by.
I saw signs of the NIC-10 bouncing back this year. It still has a long ways to go, but teams have become much more diversified on offense. Here’s hoping Guilford, Hononegah, Harlem and Boylan all do well in the playoffs this year. NIC-10 football needs a strong shot of hope.
Maybe it’s football teams can start making the climb back the NIC-10 has made in girls basketball, where Freeport twice finished second in the state and Boylan, Hononegah and Auburn all won more than 25 games last year with junior-dominated teams.