CLINTON, Ill. (WCIA) — One Central Illinois high school football team is heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2019, but they’ll be playing their first game without one of their star players.

The Clinton Maroons are looking to get their first playoff win in school history, but they will be playing without Mason Walker, their starting quarterback, for this weekend’s game.

“We’re obviously disappointed that Mason won’t be on the field, but we’re so excited that the kids have an opportunity to go to the playoffs again, since 2019 was the last time they were there,” said Angela Walker, Mason’s mother. “This group of kids in Mason’s class, they are seniors, so it’s really exciting that they get the opportunity to play in a playoff game and have a really good chance to win the game.”

Mason is suspended from this week’s game after a scuffle took place last week against the Pontiac Indians. He walked onto the field without a helmet, trying to break up the fight between both teams.

“He went out to stop the fight, and push our players back to make sure that nobody was involved with the fight,” Angela said. “We’re proud of the leadership qualities that he showed that day.”

She said Clinton High School appealed the suspension to the Illinois High School Association to see if they could reduce the consequence, but the appeal was denied.

Angela said that although her son is upset, he’s put the past behind him and is focusing on helping his guys get the win this weekend.

“He’s disappointed, but he’s keeping his head up,” she said. “He’s so excited for the team and ready to play in the second round,” she said.

Angela said the team has done great this year and that they have all moved on from Mason’s suspension. Now, she is looking forward to supporting the team and watching her other son, Colton, take the field.