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Cerro Gordo is Indians' opponent in opening round

By

LAWRENCEVILLE - Lawrenceville High School's football team knew it would face a long road trip when the Illinois High School Association announced first-round pairings for the Class 2A playoffs Saturday evening.

But at least a journey to Cerro Gordo is an excursion the Indians can live with. Kickoff for the game between the Indians (7-2) and the host Broncos (9-0) is set for 2 p.m.

Cerro Gordo is seeded fifth in the Class 2A field, but earned its berth by going undefeated through the Little Okaw Valley Conference, which is made up mostly of 1A schools. The 12th-seeded Indians, who earned their first playoff berth since 2004, have lost games to Robinson, which is in the 3A tournament, and Olney, which will take part in the 4A field.

"I'm not putting Cerro Gordo down at all, because they're 9-0," LHS coach Greg Wood said Saturday evening, after learning of the pairing. "They've gone undefeated and they've earned their ranking. But from a matchup standoint, when compared to other teams we might have played, I think it's a great draw."

According to mapquest.com, the trip from Lawrenceville to Cerro Gordo, is just less than 130 miles. It should take a few minutes less than three hours, through central Illinois. Wood says the Indians will have breakfast in Lawrenceville Saturday morning, before boarding a charter bus for the trip.

"It's great to play somebody we know nothing about, and then be able to travel three hours to play a game," Wood said. "Our kids probably have no clue where Gerro Gordo is. They've probably never heard of Cerro Gordo. It'll be a great cultural experience."

The playoff berth is just the fourth in LHS history. Lawrenceville first qualified in 1977, and lost to Murphysboro, 42-14. LHS didn't qualify again until 2002, when it lost at Moweaqua Central A&M, 27-18. In the Indians' last playoff game, in 2004, they suffered a 46-8 loss at Shelbyville.

Cerro Gordo has an official enrollment of 343, compared to Lawrenceville's 356. The Broncos average 46.4 points a game, third-most among the 32 teams in the 2A field. They give up just 6.9 points an outing, tied for third-best in the field. Lawrenceville averages 37.3 points a game, while allowing 12.0.

While the Indians are making just their fourth tournament appearance, this mark's Cerro Gordo's 22nd trip to the post-season. The Broncos have an all-time record of 17-21 in tournament play.

Should the Indians win on Saturday, they'd most likely host a second-round game on Nov. 3. The Lawrenceville-Cerro Gordo winner will face either Argenta-Oreana (6-3) or Camp Point Central (9-0) in the second round.

Casey is the only other LIC team entered in the 2A tournament. The Warriors (9-0) will play Carmi (6-3) in the opening round.

Two LIC teams, Oblong and Cumberland, are in the 1A tournament. Oblong (6-3), in the playoffs for the first time ever, will play at Sidell Jamaica-Salt Fork (8-1). Cumberland (6-3) will play at Carrollton (8-1). Should Cumebrland and Oblong both win, the teams would face each other in the second round.

Robinson (6-3) faces a trip to Benton (8-1) in the 3A tournament, while Olney (8-1) will host Breese Mater Dei (6-3) in 4A action.

Class 2A pairings

Game 1 - #8 Orion (5-4) at #1 Lanark (Eastland) [E.-Pearl City Coop] (9-0), TBA

Game 2 - #5 Winnetka (North Shore Country Day) (7-2) at #4 Amboy [A.-LaMoille Coop] (7-2), TBA

Game 3 - #7 Morrison (6-3) at #2 Aledo (Mercer County) (9-0), TBA

Game 4 - #6 Taylor Ridge (Rockridge) (7-2) at #3 Rockford (Lutheran) (8-1), TBA

Game 5 - #8 Momence (6-3) at #1 Clifton (Central) (8-1), TBA

Game 6 - #5 Carthage (Illini West) (7-2) at #4 Tremont (8-1), TBA

Game 7 - #7 Havana (6-3) at #2 Downs (Tri-Valley) (8-1), TBA

Game 8 - #6 Watseka (6-3) at #3 Kewanee (Wethersfield) [Annawan-W. Coop] (8-1), TBA

Game 9 - #16 Georgetown (G.-Ridge Farm) [G.R.F.-Chrisman Coop] (6-3) at #1 Bismarck (B.-Henning) (9-0), TBA

Game 10 - #9 Johnston City (7-2) at #8 DuQuoin (H.S.) (7-2), TBA

Game 11 - #13 Argenta (A.-Oreana) (6-3) at #4 Camp Point (Central) [C.-Southeastern Coop] (9-0), TBA

Game 12 - #12 Lawrenceville (7-2) at #5 Cerro Gordo [C.G.-Bement Coop] (9-0), TBA

Game 13 - #15 Belleville (Althoff Catholic) (6-3) at #2 Chester (9-0), TBA

Game 14 - #10 Athens [Coop] (7-2) at #7 Beardstown (8-1), TBA

Game 15 - #14 Carmi (C.-White County) (6-3) at #3 Casey (C.-Westfield) (9-0), TBA

Game 16 - #11 Arthur (A.-Lovington) [Coop] (7-2) at #6 Carlinville (8-1), TBA



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