Football players are used to weather extremes but perhaps not what they have endured the past seven months.
While snow was being cleared from the Prairie Central High School practice field before the spring season started, high heat index values this week forced the coaches to change up practice a bit.
“The kids have been great taking care of themselves and staying hydrated,” PCHS head football coach Andrew Quain told Fairbury News on Wednesday.
Things feel a bit more normal so far, even with the hot weather. After a shortened spring season, players are getting into more of the regular August routine ahead of the full football season.
“It’s been a quick turnaround which I think is worse for the coaches,” admitted Quain.
The abbreviated offseason was good for the players’ retention of knowledge allowing them to jump right back in with offense and defense from where they left off in the spring.
Quain acknowledges there will be big shoes and holes to fill but he and the players are setting their sights on the playoffs.
“We are moving pieces around and figuring out who is the right guy where.”
Football practices started earlier in the week as the team has been watching film and undergoing player evaluations.
While making the most of last spring’s season, the team would have loved being in the playoffs.
“We had a great team that I think would have done really well in the state playoffs,” Quain noted.
All-conference defensive back Owen Rafferty will be playing quarterback. The senior is really excited about a regular season.
“It is a lot better to be able to play nine games and get actual playoffs this year,” Rafferty said.
Personally, Rafferty hopes to keep improving and working hard. Rafferty is glad he stuck with football after he wasn’t even sure he was going to play his freshman year. He got talked into it during a preseason camp a few years ago.
Offensive/defensive lineman Daniel Hawkins feels good about the year ahead.
“We come out here everyday and practice hard and we are looking like a team.”
Since last year’s seniors weren’t able to, Hawkins and others have set a goal of going deep into the playoffs this fall.
“They didn’t get a chance so we owe it to them. I set high goals I hope to achieve,” added Hawkins.
PC football opens the season at Tolono Unity Aug. 27 before returning home to play Pontiac for week two Sept. 3. We will once again have all of the football play-by-play action on Fairbury News Facebook and FairburyNews.net.