PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Ready for high school football to return?
Area players sure seem to be ready for kickoff to the season on Friday. Even if it means they won’t get much sleep Thursday night.
“There’s always going to be butterflies for that first game,” said Richwoods senior lineman Damiyon Smith. “That’s just the excitement of it. If you’re really a football player you’re going to have butterflies. You’re always ready to go out there and make something happen.”
Schools in small communities really seem to embrace the high school football in central Illinois.
“It’s hard to describe it, really. Everyone coming together to support each other,” said El Paso-Gridley senior lineman Travis Gramm. “Little kids are looking up to us, everyone coming from different towns to support us. It feels good”
Last school year, the Illinois High School Association moved football from the fall to the spring in hopes of saving the season during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now football returns to the fall with a full regular season schedule and postseason series planned.
“At Fieldcrest, football has been big for quite a while now. People come to the stadium to watch us play,” said Fieldcrest junior lineman Aidan Harsted. “It’s quite a dogfight on the field and having all those lights and all those people around is really exciting. It brings us a lot of energy.”
Once the sun sets, in some cases, the stadium lights can been seen for miles on a Friday night.
“It’s crazy. The whole town has you backed up,” said Tri-Valley senior running back Noah Streenz “They are all cheering for you. It’s a great feeling to be under those lights.”
Let the games begin.