The news that Eldorado head football coach Joe Clark got earlier this week was good enough to wipe the sweat off his brow.
There was fear that the Eagles could lose both its top rushers as senior's Jace Jenkins and Dawson Metten both went down with injuries in the second half of last Friday's game with Fairfield.
With the regular season culminating around all of Illinois this week and the Eagles looking towards a possible home game in the first round of the IHSA Class 2A playoffs, Clark feels like a little bit of new life has been breathed into his program.
Eldorado will close out the regular season tonight at home against Johnston City, while Harrisburg will end its season at home against Carbondale.
Todd Thomas is in the driver's seat now at Johnston City, replacing Dan Mings, who spent seven seasons on the Indians sideline, going 41-28. Mings had a winning percentage of .594. and JC qualified for the playoffs five of those seven seasons, but the Indians will miss the playoffs for a second straight season.
On the flip side, Eldorado will be in the playoffs for the sixth straight season and the second in a row under Clark. Since 2010, the Eagles have missed the playoffs just once, a 4-5 season in 2012.
The Eagles have a nice little run going against Johnston City, winners of the last three, including last year's 30-8 win. Eldorado still trails 17-7 in the series since 1996 and from 2000-2012, the Indians had won 14 straight against EHS.
At Harrisburg, the Bulldogs have missed the playoffs for the third year in a row. Harrisburg hasn't had a postseason drought this long, dating back to 1975-1977. That was the Gene Haile and Ken Joggerst era before Joggerst got the Bulldogs into the 4A playoffs in 1978 when Harrisburg went 8-2.
Going back 41 years (1978), Harrisburg has made the playoffs 28 times, but only have one showing in the last six years.
The Bulldogs will take on a Carbondale team that is in the playoffs for the first time since 2013 when now Saluki head coach Nick Hill took the Terriers to the playoffs in his one season at CCHS.
Bryan Lee is now in his sixth year at Carbondale and after a 0-9 season his first year in 2015, Lee has had two seasons of 2-7 football and back-to-back records of 3-6.
The Terriers are 6-2 this year and started the season 4-0 with wins over Murphysboro, Granite City, Waterloo and Centralia. Cahokia handed Carbondale its first loss in Week 5, but the Terriers rattled off two more wins, beating Mt. Vernon and Belleville Althoff before losing 14-7 to Marion last week.
One of Carbondale's three wins last year was a 32-22 win over Harrisburg, but the Bulldogs still own a 7-6 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to 2005.
Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.