LA GRANGE PARK, Ill. - Another sign that we may be turning the corner on COVID is that Illinois high school football teams began practicing Wednesday for an abbreviated springtime season.
Other fall sports are starting up as well.
High school football in the spring seems upside down, but players at Nazareth Academy are just happy to be back out on the field.
It was the first day the Illinois High School Association is allowing football practice and at Nazareth Academy, it has been a long wait.
"I mean it’s just really weird. We haven’t played in a year and four months, something like that," said wide receiver Tyler Morris.
"We’ve had a lot of months to prepare our bodies physically so it’s really exciting to get a chance to prove it to everyone," said defensive tackle Drew Hughes.
It is a shortened season, just six games with no playoffs.
Players have to wear a masks and only a small number of fans will be allowed in the stands.
"I gotta be honest. I did not think this day would get here this year, but I’m ecstatic that it is, that we’re playing football again," said Nazareth head football coach Tim Racki.
Just a mile away at Lyons Township High School, the boys’ soccer team has begun practicing for a season that would have normally started last summer.
"Obviously we’re trying to keep practices separated out, and we’re trying to, the kids are all wearing masks like the IHSA has asked," said Lyons Township soccer coach Paul Labbato.
While it is an abbreviated season, players say it is critical for those looking for scholarships.
"If you’re looking to play collegiately, it’s really important to have your senior season for most of us, and juniors to get looks from colleges," said senior Matthew Drobny.