PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — High School football players are excited the second season has begun.

The playoffs start this week.

“This is awesome. It’s definitely good to be here but I mean this was the expectation at the beginning of the season,” said El Paso-Gridley senior running back Dax Gentes. “We were expecting to be here, but now that it’s actually here it’s go time and we have to work hard get ready for that playoff game.”

The 256 teams that made the Illinois High School Association playoff field began postseason practice Monday. First round playoff games are Friday and Saturday throughout the state.

“It’s really special,” said Peoria High senior running back Malachi Washington. “You know it’s been a while since we had a home playoff game so you know we’re really grateful and you know we’re going to go out there and take it.”

Peoria High opens the playoffs at home against Decatur MacArthur Saturday in class 5A. Mid-Illini champion Pekin starts the class 7A playoffs at home against Plainfield Central.

“It feels awesome. We get another shot to comeback and finally come back from last year because last year we came up short,” said Pekin senior Tanner Sprecher. “And we know that we need to kind of comeback and show what we can really prove.”