It’s not the way they would have ever dreamed their senior football season would play out.
They learned there would be nothing normal in a most abnormal year.
There will not be equipment handouts and two-a-days in August.
There will be no Friday Night Lights in the heat of August and September or on a crisp fall night in late October.
There will not be a homecoming game this fall.
Instead the seniors learned their last dance will come next spring, rather than this fall.
Nick Guerrini, who will have to wait six months later than expected to make debut his as the new Hall coach, shared similar reactions to the seniors around Bureau County when the announcement was made.
“This isn’t necessarily what we were hoping for, but a season in the spring is better than none. We will just keep preparing for the season in February,” he said.
The BCR spoke to 11 area senior players for their reactions:
Grant Foes (OL/DL): “Well, I see it as an opportunity to play. We’re going to keep working toward our goal over the fall and winter so we are ready to go in the spring. We just want to play.”
Tyler Gibson (QB/FS): “Of course, I wish it was in the fall on a normal schedule, but they decided that isn’t possible right now so we just have to deal with it. I know our guys will take this opportunity to get even better during this increased time off, and hopefully, come February, we can get after it. I cannot wait for the buzz to come back to this town once football starts back up again.”
Ronde Worrels (FB/LB): "We get a season. Princeton football will be a very prepared team in the spring, that’s for sure."
Evan Eckberg (QB/S): At first, I thought it will be very weird playing in the spring, but then it came to me that the decision was best to help the players and coaches get a full season in. If the season would’ve started on time, then who knows when COVID could have shut it down. So we now just have more time to get better and let this virus calm down.”
Drew Spencer (RB/NG): “I honestly think it’s a good move. I’d actually been hoping that was the call for a while now. Of course I’d love to be playing in the fall to kick off the school year. But I feel more hopeful for a whole season with it being postponed, because like coach said, a lot could happen between now and February for the IHSA to figure things out and also for our team to make our plays more efficient and to get our bodies in better condition.”
Jose Castro (FB/LB): "When I heard that we would be playing I was excited not only because it gives us an opportunity to get better and stronger, but because I will be able to play my senior season. I can’t wait to work hard this fall with my teammates and build up the chemistry with new players and the new coaches. I think it's gonna be a really fun and good year."
Donovan Cotton (RB/LB): "It was kinda devastating, but at the same time It was really an eye opener as well. It’s giving us a chance to get in the weight room and get stronger and be more prepared for the season and it’s also giving people who possibly didn’t do all they could to be prepared for this season a chance to get ready."
Alec Vecchia (OL/DL): "It’s not what we wanted to hear, but it's a lot better than having no season. This gives us more time to get stronger and bigger.”
Braden Dammerell (QB/U): "I was disappointed that we were not able to play this fall, but the IHSA made the right and safe decision to move the season to the spring. But on the positive side of this decision, this gives my team and I, 200 more days to get better, bigger, faster and stronger for the spring season."
Joe Edwall (G/DL): "It’s unfortunate that we will not be playing football under the lights this fall. It’s gonna be a huge change for everyone. However, the safety of our coaches, staff, and players is the number one priority. As a team I have no doubt that we will utilize this time to get stronger and mentally prepare for the season to come. Let’s hope that this will all be over soon and get back to playing some football."
Shawn Schwemlein (C/DL): "It (the announcement) was exciting and heartbreaking. The reason is homecoming. If we have it will not be the same without it. The reason for the excitement is for our seniors. It will be a nice way to go out and it will give the fans a better chance to watch the game. Having it in the spring will make it safer for everyone involved."