ARGENTA (WCIA) — It’s a sight for sore eyes with footballs finally back on the field in Argenta.
“I knew I missed football and I knew missed being out here but I didn’t realize that I missed it as much as I did until I got out here,” new Argenta-Oreana football coach Mike DeMeio said.
Even though the Bombers lost a month of field time, DeMeio is more then ready to lead the team this season in his first head coaching job. He spent last year as an assistant at MacArthur. Prior to that he was at Mt. Zion for a decade. During his quarantine, the Mt. Zion native watched hours of Bombers game film from last year.
“I think I watched every game from the last two to three years. and then studying offenses that we’re going to run, and defenses that we’re going to run, and trying to learn from them–some college tape and some NFL tape.”
With less than a month before the start of fall camp, the Bombers are starting from scratch with a new system under DeMeio. They were only able to have a few practices with players guarding each other before the IHSA changed its Phase 4 guidelines, eliminating contact and competitions. They’re also down in numbers this year going from a 50-man roster, to around 30. The Bombers will rely on 11 seniors to lead the way, who have been a part of several deep playoff runs the past few years.
“I believe our leadership is key, because if there’s no leadership there’s no team,” Argenta-Oreana senior lineman Blake Dulgar said. “Especially with everyone having three months off, this last month we just got to keep everybody going and getting in shape.”
“The main thing is I think we’re all really grateful to be out here, and not taking anything for granted because you never know really,” Argenta-Oreana senior quarterback Brock Lyerly said. “There’s some things we got to do, some masks, social distancing, but at the end of the day we’re out here having fun and enjoyng it.”
“I know I’ll feel nervous that first game, every game I’ll be nervous but that first one I will definitely be,” DeMeio added. “I feel prepared and I’m excited to be around the kids. We have a great group of seniors, I’m happy where things are, but for the most part we’re happy to be back out here, back to football.”
DeMeio takes over for Steve Kirk, who resigned in December after leading the program to a 30-5 record the past three seasons. Kirk is now the defensive coordinator at Monticello.