While all football coaches in the area get fired up for just about anything to do with the state playoffs, Columbia High defensive coordinator Scott Germain has been living and breathing the playoff atmosphere for most of his life.
Now 43, Germain traveled to his first playoff game as a 3-year old in 1975 since his father, longtime area football coach Jerry Germain, got Dupo into the playoffs for the first time that season.
He’s been in love with this time of year ever since
“My mom and dad had pictures of me on the sidelines there,” said Scott Germain, who later played for his father on playoff teams at Columbia and now is in his 18th season as an assistant coach with the Eagles. “As a kid wanting to play the sport and watching the atmosphere, I was always amazed at how the kids have to prepare for it. As a player you can’t wait for this time of year and now as a coach it’s still just as good.
“I drove my wife crazy Saturday because that’s all I was doing was trying to figure out the playoffs.”
Columbia (9-0) opens the playoffs at home with a 1 p.m. Class 4A game Saturday against Central (5-4).
One of the first games Scott Germain remembered well was the 1979 regular-season finale that saw his dad’s Dupo team lose 8-7 to Assumption in East St. Louis. Both teams were 8-0 heading into the game and at that time, only conference champs made the playoffs.
As strange as it seems now with so many 5-4 teams in the playoffs, in 1979 even 8-1 did not get it done for Dupo.
“When the game was over with he just fell on his face and started crying,” said Jerry Germain, now 74. “I think I even cried last year when Columbia lost to Althoff in the first round because I know how hard those guys worked.”
Scott Germain was raised in a football family and has been involved in the playoffs on numerous occasions. His father coached at Chester, Dupo, Waterloo, Columbia and Windsor, Mo.
“There’s something special about this time of the year,” he said. “The regular season grind makes you have to earn a trip to the playoffs,but my dad really enjoyed playoff time. It was almost like Christmas when the pairings came out, trying to figure out which team you were going to play.”
Jerry Germain used an information packet sent to each school by the Illinois High School Association and worked up his playoff projections on records and scores he’d get from around the state. The Internet had yet to be invented, nor had the IHSA.org web site.
“About 90 percent of the time I pretty well knew who was going to get in and who wasn’t getting in,” Jerry Germain said. “I was doing it all on paper. I had coaches calling me that didn’t know if they were going to have enough points, so it was exciting.”
When he was a running back and linebacker at Columbia, Scott Germain and some teammates would drive to Red Bud, sitting in their vehicle and listening to the playoffs pairings being announced live on Sparta radio station WHCO.
“We couldn’t really pick the signal up in Columbia and the closer you got to Red Bud the better you could hear the Sparta channel that was broadcasting it,” Germain said. “But by the time we’d get back home, my dad would already know (who we were playing).”
Jerry Germain has dealt with cancer in recent years and did not make it to one of his son’s Columbia games all season.
He will be there on Saturday for the 9-0 Eagles’ first-round playoff game against Central.
Nothing could keep him away from that.
“He’s such a good coach that I’m excited for him too,” Jerry Germain said. “I can remember Scotty always getting excited about his playoff games and he knew how excited I was, because that’s what you work all year for.”
First-round playoff schedule
It may take some logistics in the travel department, but metro-east football fans have 15 playoff games to choose from this weekend within the confines of the Illinois state border.
Here is a look at the first-round playoff schedule for area teams:
(seeds and records in parentheses)
Friday, Oct. 30
(18) Belleville East (6-3) at (15) Oswego (7-2), 7 p.m.
(25) O’Fallon (5-4) at (8) Homewood-Flossmoor (8-1), 7 p.m.
(28) Belleville West (5-4) at (5) Cary-Grove (8-1), 6:30 p.m.
(15) Mattoon (5-4) at (2) Triad (8-1), 7 p.m.
(9) Roxana (7-2) at (8) Carlinville (7-2), 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 31
(30) Waubonsie Valley (5-4) at (3) Edwardsville (9-0), 1:30 p.m.
(12) Decatur Eisenhower (6-3) at (5) Highland (8-1), 1 p.m.
(16) Clinton (5-4) at (1) Althoff (9-0), 7:30 p.m. at Lindenwood University in Belleville
(15) Central (5-4) at (2) Columbia (9-0), 1 p.m.
(10) Mater Dei (6-3) at (7) Civic Memorial (7-2), 1 p.m.
(13) Marquette (6-3) at (4) Rochester (8-1), 1:30 p.m.
(11) Wesclin (6-3) at (6) Monticello (8-1), 2 p.m.
(11) Nashville (6-3) at (6) New Berlin (7-2), 2 p.m.
TeAntez the playmaker
Belleville West head coach Cameron Pettus has been trying all sorts of things to put the ball in the hands of play makers. Nobody has been making plays for the Maroons like senior TeAntez Anthony.
He’s scored seven touchdowns in West’s crucial playoff-clinching wins Weeks 8 and 9, and he did so in just about every way possible.
In a 41-0 win at Granite City in Week 8, Anthony scored on an 85-yard punt return, an 87-yard run lined up in the backfield,and caught a pair of scoring passes in his usual wide receiver slot. In Friday’s 47-20 playoff-clinching win at Alton, he caught two more touchdown passes and returned an intercepted pass 86 yards for a touchdown.
Anthony has scored all but two of his team-leading 11 touchdowns since the Maroons’ Week 6 loss to East.
No second guessing
Triad coach Paul Bassler had no problems defending his decision to have quarterback Tommy Bauer attempt his first pass of the night Friday late in the fourth quarter of a game against Althoff.
The deception worked since Althoff’s safeties bit on the play fake. But Bauer’s pass intended for Adam Nelson was intercepted on a diving play in the end zone by Althoff cornerback Edwyn Brown and the Crusaders (9-0) went on to deliver a 33-21 victory over Triad (8-1).
“I like my group and I’d go to war with them against anybody in the state,” Bassler said. “(Nelson was wide open. Tommy needed to get it up just a little sooner. We were running triple (option) down their throat and just driving the ball down the field.
“I knew at that moment that he was ready because I kept watching their safeties and how they were reacting. Adam was wide poen, we just missed it. It just was in the air too long.”
(Sports editor Todd Eschman also contributed information for this story).
BND High School Football Rankings
Final rankings for metro-east teams; voting by area coaches and News-Democrat staff. First-place votes are in parentheses; records through last week’s action.
Large school rankings (Class 5A-8A)
Also receiving votes: East St. Louis (3-6), Highland (8-1), Collinsville (3-6), Waterloo (4-5)
Small school rankings (Class 1A-4A)
Also receiving votes: Nashville (6-3), Central (5-4), Roxana (7-2), Carlyle (4-5)