- Fairbury News staff
'Today the work begins'
It has been 473 days since the Prairie Central football team played Effingham at home but who’s counting? Head coach Andrew Quain apparently is as he fired off the number during a media interview.
Quain acknowledges the coaches and players are ready to take the field once again and that is exactly what they did on Wednesday as football practices officially began across the state.
“It’s a little odd to be in school on the first day of football practice and have a few more layers of clothes on than we would in August but we’re really excited to be back,” Quain told Fairbury News prior to the opening practice.
The seniors are pumped to play their final season which looked like it wasn’t going to happen at one point. PC returns quite a few seniors from the quarterfinal team from last season. Those seniors had goals of a state championship this year which will not happen since a post season is not planned for football in Illinois.
“That has obviously changed with no post season but we are aiming toward conference champions and playing out a strong season,” Quain added.
The ups and downs of the pandemic were definitely felt in the sports world as a somewhat normal football offseason turned into plenty of uncertainty last year. COVID shut everything down in March of 2020 leading to at-home workouts before football players were allowed to return in July for outdoor workouts. In fact, Quain and his staff brought the weight room outside. The team practiced in the fall before things shut down again.
“We were out here in the snow and we had Hartman Trucking in Forrest plow the fields for us so we could get back out.”
Quain’s goal is for the team to be in mid-season form by week one. The kids have been working toward that goal without complaining about the cold. They seem excited just to be able to play.
As team members gathered on the Prairie Central practice field on a sunny afternoon in the mid-50s Wednesday, Quain could be heard telling them, “today the work begins.” He noted the PC football philosophy is built on fundamentals and that a championship team starts with a good foundation.
The Hawk football opener is Friday, March 19 at Rantoul for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The home debut is the following week, March 26. A scrimmage is set for Saturday, March 13.
Fairbury News plans to cover all of the Hawk football games, home and away, during March and April.
Also, be watching Fairbury News live on Thursday evenings during March and April starting March 11 as Coach Quain will be interviewed during our Fairbury Newsmakers program live at Emancipation near Fairbury. The coach will look back at the previous game and preview that week's matchup for PC.