O'Leary optimistic about opener
“I’m thrilled,’’ he replied with his usual burst of enthusiasm.
And to tell the truth, O’Leary’s feelings about a Division 1 rematch go deeper than that as he prepares his Craig High team for a return trip to Ameche Field and Tuesday’s 7 p.m. game against the third-seeded Trojans.
“We’re going to Kenosha and win,’’ O’Leary said, “and that’s a guarantee.’’
There, of course, are no guarantees at playoff time, but O’Leary thinks he has every reason to be optimistic about Craig’s seventh straight postseason appearance and the chances for the Cougars’ first win since 1999.
“We should have won down there last year,’’ he said of a 21-6 defeat in the first round, “and they’ve lost just about everybody. We’ve got just about everybody back, and I like the way we move the ball.
“I know they’re 7-2,” he said of the Trojans, who tied with Kenosha Bradford for third place behind co-champions Racine Horlick and Racine Park in the Southeast Conference. “And we should be, too.’’
However, a 29-28 heartbreaker against Madison Memorial and 32-30 loss to Madison West kept Craig’s 5-4 team from reaching the 7-2 mark and possibly getting a first–round home game. But that’s in the past, O’Leary said, and he wants to put the Cougars’ current two-game losing streak there, too.
“We just want to win at Kenosha and come home and play Middleton,’’ he said.
That might be the scenario if the Cougars take down Tremper. The winner draws Middleton’s second-seeded Big Eight champions (8-1) or Mukwonago (4-5), and WIAA criteria would place that second-round game at Monterey Stadium in Janesville on Saturday, Nov. 1, if the Cougars survive.
And that might be another chance for Cougar revenge. The third of Craig’s four losses was 34-7 to Middleton in Week 5.
But the only numbers that count