Undefeated Annawan-Wethersfield moved up a spot to No. 3 in the Associated Press Class 1A poll.
Only Lena-Winslow, which received 11 first-place votes, and Moweaqua Central A&M are rated higher.
The team has made steady progress through the season in ascending the rankings.
“We obviously appreciate the attention,” A-W coach Logan Willits said. “Kids deserve it. We’ve had some impressive wins. It’s a great accolate to have and to have people talking about it.”
The team continues to be road warriors. This week the team loads the bus for the 70-mile trip down U.S. Route 34 to Biggsville to face West Central.
And while rankings are nice — Annawan-Wethersfield has to keep winning to stay atop the Lincoln Trail Conference standings.
A-W is 5-0 in conference play and Princeville is 4-1.
While West Central is no longer in contention in the Lincoln Trial, at 4-3 overall the team still has playoff hopes. Willits said A-W is mindful that West Central is primed for an upset, especially after being bolstered by its 18-8 victory over Ridgewood last week.
“They’ll give it their best shot,” he said. “You know they’re having a hard look at that playoff opponent point line.”
Playoff opponent wins is a key factor the Illinois High School Association looks at when selecting bubble teams for the playoffs. Mainly because West Central’s season-opening win was by forfeit against a team that moved to the eight-man division, its opponents have only 27 wins -- the lowest in the conference.
Keeping watch on the playoff hypotheticals the IHSA maintains isn’t only the concern of bubble teams. Getting the best possible seed of the 32 teams selected for the postseason in Class 1A is Annawan-Wethersfield’s aim.
This list differs from the AP poll. The top eight are currently configured, in order:
1 Moweaqua Central A&M, 2 Annawan Wethersfield, 3 Lena-Winslow, 4 Ottawa Marquette, 5 Freeport Aquin, 6 Morrison, 7 Princeville, and 8 Chicago Hope Academy
So, when game time comes, expect Annawan-Wethersfield to open up it offense that’s already outscored opponents 266 to 61.
“We should be a position to make a lot of plays,” he said. “Test the water with a lot of things.”
A-W’s offensive line has been solid. Trevor Baker, Drake Van Hyfte and Logan Troxell each have more than 25 “impact blocks” as the team stats such things. The line’s performance has given the ball-handlers opportunities.
Quarterback Coltin Quagliano is completing 64.5 percent of his passes, amassing 1,545 yards. He’s thrown for 18 touchdowns and had five interceptions. His top targets have been Julian Samuels (24 catches, 522 yards), Isaac Shaw (12 catches, 327 yards), Reese Gripp (13 catches, 270 yards) and Kale Nelson (16 catches, 216 yards).
The ground game also starts with Quagliano, who has 378 yards rushing. Gripp has 288 yards rushing.