Salt Fork's football team can ponder what might have been.
Had the Storm won Saturday's second-round playoff game at Greenfield-Northwestern -- they lost 12-7 -- it would have meant a home game next week against Arcola in Catlin.
That won't happen, but guess what?
When the next high school season starts on Aug. 22, Arcola will in fact play Salt Fork in Catlin. It's a good guess that coach Brian Plotner will be in the stands next Saturday when the Purple Riders play host to undefeated Greenfield-Northwestern.
The 11-0 Tigers made a favorable impression on the Storm, who had a seven-game winning streak snapped.
"Their linebackers are not big, but they are quick and they hit," senior receiver Jon Knoll said. "They were hitters."
It will be interesting to see how the blitzing Greenfield-Northwestern defense fares against Arcola, which passed for 195 yards in the upset win at Jacksonville Routt. The Tigers sacked quarterback J.D. Learnard eight times.
Arcola's quarterback, Mark Klinger, ran for 110 yards at Routt, his second 100-yard rushing effort in the postseason.
Knoll said the Tigers' frequent blitzing -- coming from all angles -- was so effective, "even if we had receivers open, the quarterback didn't have time to throw."
Plotner said if he had the chance to replay the game, he'd alter one part of the game plan.
"We kept trying to go deep too much and the pressure got through to us before we could break free," he said, indicating that shorter routes might have been a better alternative.
Salt Fork's defense was solid in the season-finale. Cody Nicholson and Robert Cox each had 11 tackles, Knoll had eight and Caleb Williams had seven. Brock Bodine intercepted a pass and Chet Moreland recovered a fumble.
Offensively, when the sacks were factored in, Salt Fork finished with 30 yards rushing on 35 attempts. Matt Ford was the leader with 34 yards.
Westville's rematch with Maroa-Forsyth -- the same teams which played in last year's 2A state title game when the Trojans prevailed -- is expected to take place at 7 p.m. next Saturday.
The Trojans asked for the evening time slot, thinking that the school's undefeated girls' volleyball team could be playing for the state title at 12:45 p.m. that afternoon in Normal.
St. Joseph-Ogden could need every edge in can muster in the quarterfinals against a tough Plano squad. One advantage might be the home field and that's where the quarterfinal contest will be played. The team SJ-O defeated Saturday night (Wilmington) 26-7 is the one Plano handled 13-8 in Week 6.
The area's fourth surviving team, Tuscola, will travel to Mount Olive, which started the postseason with wins over two Little Okaw Valley Conference schools (Villa Grove and Cerro Gordo/DeLand-Weldon) and now entertains a school one year removed from the LOVC.