The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: Back In The Game

  • After 1-year hiatus, Eldorado back in football playoffs
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    • Did You Know
      Eldorado head boys' basketball coach and football assistant Joe Clark was once a head coach at Carlyle. Clark coached the Indians from 2003-05 going 8-19 in three season. Clark had back...
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      Did You Know
      Eldorado head boys' basketball coach and football assistant Joe Clark was once a head coach at Carlyle. Clark coached the Indians from 2003-05 going 8-19 in three season. Clark had back-to-back records of 2-7 in 2003-04, before going 4-5 in 2005.

      During Clark's time at Carlyle, now head coach Randy Dooley was Clark's defensive coordinator. Clark was 23 years old when he started coaching at Carlyle.

      Carlyle last won a state football championship in 1988

      Eldorado is seeking its first playoff win since 1988. That season, the Eagles beat Johnston City 44-0, before losing to Harrisburg in the second round of the playoffs.

      Eldorado hasn't opened the playoffs on the road since 2011 when they played at Anna-Jonesboro. In 2010, Eldorado played at Johnston City. Eldorado did not make playoffs last year, snapping a stretch of two straight seasons.
  • Brandon Hampton admits that there is a lot of fun in preparing for an unknown opponent.
    As the Eldorado head football coach gets his team ready for Saturday's first round matchup against Carlyle in the IHSA Class 2A playoffs, Hampton knows he's also dealing with a club that has a bruised psyche after back-to-back losses to close out the season.
    The Eagles (7-2) walk into Saturday's game with a little limp, but the sixth year head coach knows that if there is a chance to redeem yourself, Saturday is the time to do it.
    "Our guys knows what's at stake and what's on the line," Hampton said. "I know the guys are disappointed about how we finished, but now is the time to get over it and have a great week of preparation."
    Part of the preparation Hampton says is transforming his team into the physically dominating the Eagles were for the better part of seven weeks.
    "When you watch the film right now, that's not who we are," he said. "We're not coming off the ball. We're not executing across the board. We're not the team that was dominating each and every down for 48 minutes.
    "We have to improve on things that we have struggled with the last few weeks," Hampton said. "We haven't been blocking the right people, or made the right calls. We haven't read the right keys defensively, so the first thing - in my mind - that we have to do is worry about us, as much as we worry about Carlyle."
    That being said, Carlyle (8-1) out of the Cahokia Conference bring a high-powered, high-octane offense led by senior quarterback Billy Cummins, who has a passer rating of 114.153.
    Cummins has thrown for 1314 yards this season with 12 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions.
    Devin Hicks (117 carries, 682 yards and five touchdowns), along with Logan Zachary (22 carries, 77 yards and eight touchdowns) lead the Indians running back corp.
    Tommy Cummins (19 receptions, 496 yards and four touchdowns) along with John Becker (13 receptions, 177 yards and two touchdowns) and Hicks (16 receptions, 346 yards and four touchdowns) lead the Carlyle receivers.
    "They are a very explosive football team when you watch them on film," Hampton said. "They have a lot of speed. They like to throw the deep ball quite a bit and they will threaten you vertically and put a lot of stress on your secondary. They try to stretch you horizontally with a couple of speed guys that they try to get on the edge with a bunch of blockers in front of them."
    In playing the comparison game, Hampton equates Carlyle to a Carmi-White County club in terms of what the Indians like to offensively.
    In the same breath, the Eldorado coach compares Carlyle's playmakers to that of Brad Asselmeier of Chester.
    Page 2 of 2 - "Carlyle likes to spread you out and throw the deep ball, Hampton said. What concerns me is their big play capability. They like to score in bunches and score fast. For us on defense, it's important we get a good rush on the quarterback and force him to throw it, or throw it quicker than he might want too and eliminate the big play."
    Carlyle lost one game this year, a 33-2 defeat to Columbia, who has become a powerhouse in 4A in recent years. The Indians had three shutouts on the season and haven't given up more than 22 points in their eight wins.
    "They get after people, but so have we," Hampton said. "They look very good defensively and it will be a challenge for us to really hold on and value the football and keep their high powered offense off the field. We have to grind out yardage and limit the number of times they touch the football."
    The matchup of a No. 4 against a No. 5 is something that excites Hampton, but even more so, having the opportunity to be back in the postseason.
    Eldorado is back in the playoffs after missing out a year ago. The last time the Eagles were in the postseason was in 2011 when they played a first round game at Anna-Jonesboro. Eldorado co-oped with Galatia that season, making them a 3A qualifier.
    "There is a little bit of fun preparing for someone that you're not familiar with. The last couple of years, it seems like the Black Diamond teams have matched up with each other in the first rounds.
    "So, we're preparing for this game like a business trip. We get to go up to someplace we've never been before."
    Michael Dann can be reached at mdann@dailyregister.
    Twitter: @spydieshooter
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