WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — High school football is so close players can almost taste it.
“It feels good getting back to a normal season, last year we didn’t really have it,” said Pekin junior Scott Jordan. “It feels good to be back playing football.”
Jordan is Pekin’s new quarterback and was busy playing in the Washington 7-on-7 Passing Tournament. It’s a luxury this year’s team have that last year’s didn’t.
Summer football practices last year didn’t involve outside competition because of COVID concerns.
“It gives us a gage what the teams around us are doing,” Dunlap senior Logan Silzer said of the passing tournaments. “And how we’re doing as a unit. Sharpen up on communication and get better.”
Most area teams have had summer workouts for several weeks and enjoyed returning to the routine of playing in 7-on7’s.
“For our kids it’s kind of interesting. The only (players) that had a chance to do this in the past were on (current) senior kids,” said Pekin head coach Doug Nutter. “It’s good to get back at it. Kids competing and seeing what we are made of out here.”
One year ago, coaches, players and teams didn’t know even they’d even have a football season. The Illinois High School Association and Illinois Department of Public Health were on the same page when it came to expectations for a fall season.
Eventually, the IDPH won out. Football was moved to the spring, where teams played six games without a state playoff. But now teams are excitedly preparing for a fall high school football season once again.
Practice is scheduled to begin Aug. 9 with games kicking off Aug. 27. That’s if the state of Illinois doesn’t dictate a change in plans amidst resurgent COVID cases.
“If something would go south and it wouldn’t be (a fall season), that would be the big shock,” said Eureka coach Jason Bachman. “Our kids are prepared to play a season, they are ready to be back. We were excited at the beginning of the summer that we got to go again. We’re looking forward to it.”
The fall football season is close to kicking off on time.
“It’s one of the most popular sports in the area,” Silzer said. “High school is not the same without it.”