DWIGHT – For the better part of the last decade, Seneca football fans have been talking about the Fighting Irish making the playoffs again. After Friday night’s 37-7 win in Dwight, that topic has now taken a new twist according to Fighting Irish coach Ted O’Boyle.
“We can tell them how special it is to get there, but it’s also special to get a home game,” he said. “To do that, it probably means we’re going to have to get the next two [wins]. These kids know they can accomplish it, too. You know, we did put a lot of emphasis on making the playoffs, but I don’t think any of us thought we’d be talking about this after Week 7. I think this is a focused group and they enjoy playing for each other and that’s the best part.”
Seneca’s sixth win of the season clinched the playoff spot.
“It’s awesome. It’s the greatest feeling ever,” Seneca quarterback Bo Taylor said. “We want to win out now. That’s the goal – to get a better seed, a higher seed. We want to go into the playoffs at 8-1.”
That’s would seem to be a tall order for a team who hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001.
“I don’t think anyone expected us to be where we are at right now,” O’Boyle said. “We graduated a bunch of seniors from last year and people thought we’d be a middle of the pack team, maybe fighting for 3-6 or 4-5 … these kids took that to heart and put the time in in the offseason and I can’t wait for the Week 10 game.”
There were for sure plenty of smiles to go around at Howard Rub Field in Dwight on Friday.
“It’s probably the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” Seneca running back Tommy Lovett said. “I wouldn’t want to be with any other group of guys to go to the playoffs with. We’re all hard workers and we have heart.”
Lovett was one of the big reasons Seneca locked up its playoff sport on Friday. Lovett ran the ball 13 times for 139 yards in the win, including getting his team on the board in the second quarter on a 78-yard TD run.
“Bo basically told me, ‘Tommy you have to get this’ and I had all of my teammates cheering me on so I knew I had to do something to contribute to the team,” Lovett said. “I did my best to get down the field.
“I think they [the Trojans] came out a little faster than we did. They gave us their best shot and I’m not sure we were ready to take it. But then we opened it up in the second half and were ready to play.”
Taylor ran one in to start the second half from 66 yards out and then connected with Austin Applebee on a 66-yard pass.
“We knew we were going to get their best shot in the first quarter, but we had to play through it. We took their best shot,” Taylor said. “Then in the second quarter we pounded the ball on them and then in the second half we were all business and finished it out.”
Now they will get the chance to start another season all over again in three weeks.
“It’s awesome. I told these kids that I have coached in playoff games, quite a few of them,” O’Boyle said. “Now this is their opportunity to come out in a Week-10 game. They will see that there is something special about it. I’m just glad these kids get to experience that this year.”