PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Friday’s season openers can’t come soon enough for high school football coaches.
They felt a little out of place in the spring season.
“It was nice coming off a spring season, obviously, having that one season in the middle (of two fall schedules),” said Morton head coach Tim Brilley. “But, at the same time, it’s amazing to think we are going to start the school year with football and fall sports in general.”
High school football returns to its fall spot this week. Last season, the Illinois High School Association moved football to the spring to save the season during the pandemic.
“We kind of have templates and game plans and practice plans already in place (in the fall),” said Peoria High coach Tim Thornton. “Those kind of things already situated so it is a little easier to plan.”
The spring season was only six weeks long and didn’t include a postseason. This year, the IHSA is back to a full nine-week schedule and a state playoff series.
“Our kids responded in the right way this summer compared to last year, and I don’t like talking about it. Because that was disappointment after disappointment,” said Pekin head coach Doug Nutter. “Now there’s excitement and buzz. Our seniors know it.”
Said first-year Richwoods head coach Jim Ulrich: “This is what you’re accustomed to in football, being in the late summer and fall. Not the spring. Spring is designed for spring sports or, if you’re only coaching football, then you are focusing on drills and talking to other coaches or going to clinics.”
They’d rather be playing football. And they will again starting Friday.