GEORGETOWN -- The hubub is about an object 2 feet in length and 18 inches in height, with a tin coal bucket affixed to the top.
It's something that football players from both Westville and Georgetown-Ridge Farm desire to possess: The Coal Bucket Trophy.
Westville brought the trophy to Friday's game and left with it as well following a 28-18 victory over the Buffaloes in what turned out to be one of the most thrilling fourth quarters I've seen for years. Westville has won six consecutive Coal Bucket games.
The two schools combined for five touchdowns in the last 10 minutes on the final five full possessions of the game.
The worst part of the whole night was a 30-minute lightning delay that occurred with 1:37 left in the first quarter. Many of the spectators on the G-RF side took that opportunity to leave and that was a shame. What followed turned out to be some exciting, hard-hitting action.
In fact, the hardest hit I've seen this season was delivered by Westville's Dustin Billings on G-RF freshman receiver Korie Vire following a 21-yard third-quarter pass reception. Vire lined right back up for the next play.
Two plays after that, Westvill's Matt Maser intercepted a pass, one of two Buffalo turnovers in the game.
Maser had a solid performance. He passed for a TD and rushed for a TD.
Making his presence felt, too, was the Tigers' Dustin Billings. He got Westville on the board with a 9-yard first-quarter pass from Maser and then recovered the ensuing kickoff when G-RF fumbled.
He later intercepted a pass on a two-point conversion.
Westville's only turnover, a fumble recovered by Aaron Williams, seemed to spark the Buffaloes. Three plays after the turnover, Chase Vire connected with Williams on a 14-yard TD strike at the 10-minute mark of the final period.
Westville marched right down field and raised its lead to 21-6 on workhorse Brandon Pratt's second TD of the game. It came with 6:35 remaining. Pratt had 39 carries for 197 yards.
G-RF needed less than 90 seconds to score again. Vire hit four successive passes in the sequence, including Alex Pratt on a 5-yard scoring play at 5:16.
Westville then marched 64 yards for a score. Brandon Pratt carried for the first 63 yards -- including 33 on a fourth-and-3 -- and Maser reached the end zone for the 1-yard score with 1:10 remaining, increasing the Tigers' lead to 28-12.
G-RF needed just two plays and 29 seconds to conclude the game's scoring. Vire hooked up with Tyler Dill (who had 109 receiving yards) on a 61-yard bomb. That created the final 28-18 margin with 41.6 seconds left.
Westville snapped the ball one more time and Maser took a knee.
The Tigers carry a 7-2 record into the postseason along with a six-game winning streak. G-RF concludes its season with a 3-6 record.
G-RF wound up with an edge in total yards, 335-328. Westville had 19 first downs and the Buffaloes totaled 16.
Even though the rains which drenched the field in the first half stopped shortly after intermission, Westville coach Guy Goodlove got soaked at game's end. Senior Austin Gay and junior Ryan Blue did the honors with the water cooler.
Congratulations to Westville and the other 13 News-Gazette area schools which have officially clinched playoff berths.
Certain to have a postseason game when the IHSA announces the pairings shortly after 8 p.m. tonight are Salt Fork (9-0), Villa Grove (9-0), GCMS (8-1), Mahomet-Seymour (8-1), Danville (7-2), Fisher (7-2), Westville (7-2), Arcola (6-3), Arthur-Lovington (6-3), Cerro Gordo/DeLand-Weldon (6-3), St. Thomas More (6-3), Tuscola (6-3), Unity (6-3) and Watseka (6-3).
Three other area teams will need to wait until late afternoon to see if they are among the 256 teams picked to contend for state championships. Finishing with 5-4 season records are Champaign Central, Milford and St. Joseph-Ogden.
It appears the Maroons and Spartans will have sufficient playoff points to advance, but Milford is on the bubble. Playoff points are determined by adding up the total wins for a school's nine opponents.
We'll have brackets, coverage and reaction in Sunday's News-Gazette and then stories throughout next week. Some first-round games will likely be played on Halloween Night while others will be played on Saturday, Nov. 1.
Best wishes to all of the qualifiers.