By the end of the week, we’ll have a much better idea of how area teams might fare this fall.
Jamborees are taking place with boys soccer, softball and football teams set to take to the fields by the end of this week.
East Central College’s three fall teams will see real action by the end of the week. The women’s soccer team starts its regular season Friday in Springfield, Illinois, against Lincoln Land. All three teams, women’s volleyball and soccer and men’s soccer, are at home for events Saturday.
For some, the season can’t come soon enough. Friday’s football jamborees will mark the first of 11 weeks of teams having games. After that, it’s win and advance.
Although the fans are eager to see their favorite teams in action, the season is coming much too soon for some coaches. St. Francis Borgia Regional football head coach Dale Gildehaus always feels there’s not enough time to prepare for the opening game. He’s not the only coach out there who would love to have additional preparation time.
One really can’t blame Gildehaus for his sentiments. The Knights got hit hard by graduation and have a small senior class. Additionally, Borgia has a pretty difficult schedule, starting with a much-improved Pacific team at home Friday, Aug. 27. After that, it’s a game on the road at Stierberger Stadium against Union. Week 3 has the Knights on the road at Cardinal Ritter, followed by a home game against St. Mary’s and a trip to Valle Catholic.
That’s like learning how to swim by being thrown into the deep end. It will be interesting to see how the Knights can tread water.
Borgia football isn’t the only team in that situation. Every team out there has something to prove to its fans, no matter how much depth returns from last year.
That goes for everyone from a team devastated by graduation to teams returning massive amounts of depth. On paper, programs like Union football, Borgia volleyball and Sullivan softball should be outstanding this season. All have big-time contributors back on the roster.
But as we’ve seen, games aren’t played on paper. Well, maybe volleyball is because paper is a wood product, and it’s played on a gym floor. At any rate, the unusual will be expected to happen. I’ll keep pointing back to this year’s Washington Post 218 Senior Legion team as an example because their run to the Mid South Regional was so unexpected.
By the way, Dubuque County, Iowa, the team that knocked out Washington, is playing in the American Legion World Series semifinals as a pool champion. Its semifinal game against Honolulu, Hawaii, was postponed Monday. The winner will play 2019 national champion Idaho Falls, Idaho, in the title game.
We know there will be surprise teams out there. Just who will they be?
We had St. Clair volleyball last year. I think anyone who followed the team knew they would be good. Winning the Four Rivers Conference was massive.
Union’s football team coming back after missing two games due to COVID-19 quarantines at the end of the regular season was a surprise. The Wildcats got going in the postseason and never looked back.
The fun is discovering those teams that play above and beyond, overachieving and making the impossible happen.
Finding and following those teams is one of the great things in sports.
Hopefully, the team you follow will be one of those we recall for great things at the end of the fall.