(WCIA) — It was a year unlike any other for high school football in Illinois. From mask-wearing, to playing just six games, it’s a season many area teams would rather not repeat.
Many are hoping it’s the last time high school football will be played in the spring, with hopes of a more traditional fall on the horizon. Although it was a year with many challenges, local coaches and players say they’re grateful they got the opportunity to play.
“Just trying to get back in the rhythm of things, even me as a coach being out of it for a year and a half some of the things you forget that after coaching for so many years you’re just used to doing,” says Monticello head coach Cully Welter on the experience. “For the kids, not having a summer of preparation, it was tough. It took a while before you could start rolling on all cylinders.”
The Sages finished the season with a perfect 6-0 record, although they were hoping to chase playoff dreams. If there was a postseason this year, Monticello would’ve made their 12th straight appearance.
“Everybody wants to play in the playoffs but I’m just glad that we got to have games,” says Monticello football player Kolton Knuffman. “Getting any amount of games was a huge win for us, and I’m just happy we did what we did with the games that we had.”
Many programs around the area didn’t even get to play all six games, after COVID-19 cases caused programs to be put on hold.
“You know, it was good to get six games in, it was good to get the kids an opportunity to play,” says St. Joseph-Ogden head coach Shawn Skinner. “This is a sport that you don’t get to do, this is a sport that you don’t put the football pads on except when you’re afforded the opportunity to play. I’m very proud of our kids for competing.”