The Sycamore Spartans had to win their regular season finale to qualify for the 5-A IHSA playoffs, and they haven't look back from sneaking into the field, winning three postseason games to put themselves on the brink of a state final appearance in Champaign.
Sycamore's latest feat in the bracket was a 29-22 overtime victory at home against previously undefeated Sterling, using a goal-line stand in the extra period to preserve a stunning upset. Overcoming adversity has become a hallmark for this Spartans squad that currently sports an 8-4 record and will host the 5-A semifinals on Saturday.
"There's a lot of adversity in a season and a lot of adversity in a game," says head coach Joe Ryan. "When you learn those things throughout the season, you're better prepared for it. I felt our kids were prepared for the moment."
Sycamore plays Vernon Hills on Saturday at 2:00, with the winner advancing to the 5-A state championship game at Memorial Stadium on the Illini campus. The other 5-A semifinal features Peoria and Morris.