Playoff seeding, pride on line between Falcons, Bunnies
GIBSON CITY — One decade ago, the football rivalry between neighboring schools Fisher and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley resumed.
In some sports, such as soccer and wrestling, the schools are entered in a cooperative agreement. In football, it’s not a cutthroat competition.
“We respect each other,” Fisher coach Matt Leng said, “and work well with one another in other sports.”
GCMS has held the upper hand since 2004, winning eight of nine games. In none of the games did the Falcons yield more than one touchdown.
“There’s a lot on the line,” GCMS coach Mike Allen said. “Pride, a better finish in the conference and whoever wins can hope to get a first-round playoff home game,”
Both schools bring 6-2 overall records into the 7 p.m. game and are secure in knowing they will be playing a game in Week 10. Leng hopes that will pave the way for a great performance.
“There are no worries,” Leng said. “We can just play football and enjoy the moment. Sometimes you’re looking down the road, but we both know we’re in (the playoffs).”
Allen is pleased that his squad will not have to go against Bunnies lineman Josh Wallick after this week. He remembers what one of his players told him after the first play in the 2010 game.
“I had an offensive lineman say, ‘I can’t block him,’ ” Allen said. “I said, ‘What do you mean you can’t block him? He’s a freshman.’ We’ve had to deal with that going on for four years. He’s an incredible player and a class act.”
Fisher’s line has enabled the school’s running game to gain momentum. Conrad Thomas has rushed for 962 yards. Aaron Carter has 744 yards.
“We’ve eliminated a lot of things,” Leng said, “and we’re going with five or six running plays.”
GCMS has an adept lineman, too.
“Austin Rosenbaum has been our center for three years and puts it on a dime every time,” Allen said. “It’s habit for him.”
The Falcons don’t have a marquee player, but Allen believes that’s a benefit.
“We’re pretty even and that’s an awesome thing,” Allen said. “We have no superstar, just everyone doing their job and holding up their end. There are so many kids I can mention that have all done the job for us.”
Both coaches praise the leadership they’ve seen from their veteran quarterbacks.
“Brody Farrar has been an exceptional leader,” Leng said, “and that’s a big thing for me.”
GCMS’ Ross Royal has been “a great leader,” according to Allen. “He can run, throw the ball and has three interceptions for us on defense.”