Talking one crazy COVID week with Stillman Valley football coach Mike Lalor

High School Football

STILLMAN VALLEY, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — It’s been a crazy week in high school football in the Rockford area with a number of teams getting shutdown and having to go into quarantine because of COVID-19 exposure. Stillman Valley’s football team has experienced that in full force.

The Cardinals haven’t had to quarantine, but twice they’ve had to look for a new opponent and reschedule their game. Originally they were supposed to play at North Boone, but on Monday North Boone announced it was going to quarantine. Stillman Valley then rescheduled Rock Falls, but on Thursday Rock Falls had to go into quarantine. So Stillman Valley again rescheduled. Now the Cardinals will play at Dixon Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. unless of course COVID strikes again.

For ‘Overtime’ I interviewed Stillman Valley head coach Mike Lalor to get some perspective on what the week has been like and if there is still a desire to finish out the season with a sixth week next week. Click the media player to view that interview or continue reading.

Note: As of Friday evening half the teams in the Big Northern Conference were unable to play this weekend due to positive COVID tests or exposure to COVID. Those teams are Oregon, Genoa-Kingston, Mendota, Rock Falls and North Boone.


((MIKE LALOR, STILLMAN VALLEY COACH)) “As of now we’re playing Dixon. It’s been just, I’ve never had a week even remotely close to something like this. As you said we were originally planning on actually playing North Boone but they got knocked out with Oregon having a situation and then we went on to Rock Falls. They have a situation then about two days later and they’re out. So as of today we’re playing Dixon. So we had to literally prep for three teams in five days here at this point trying to get a game in this week.”

((SCOTT)) Do you just forget about game-planning at this point and just say, ‘Guys let’s go out there and do what we do and do it to the best of our ability?
((LALOR)) “Yea it’s really kind of what you’ve got to do I think you’re just, everybody you sort of get into your base defenses, your base offenses and get out and play, and we’ll try to adjust during the game, andI I’m sure they’ll do the same but it is nowhere near the normal prep but at the same time it’s been three times the amount of prep because you do try to give them the very best chance, you know, to go into a game prepared, but it’s nothing like I’ve every done before.”

((SCOTT)) I personally have really enjoyed the football the first four weeks of the season. The competition has been great. There’s been a lot of great plays and some good games, but this week hearing about all these teams having to deal with COVID has kind of taken some of the air out of my balloon. It’s got to be the same with the players and the kids. Is this still fun to play football right now when you’re constantly scrambling like you guys have been?

((LALOR))”Yea yuo try to get kind of a pulse with the kids. They seem to be okay with it. I think they maybe in some ways they’re handling it better than the adults are a little bit at times. Ultimately we’re trying to keep it at that it’s still a game. That’s ultimately what we were hoping to do this spring is that we play games, so we can continue with those, but at the same point I’m sure it’s been confusing to them as well. This week in particular, as you know, all of a sudden we’ve got a lot of schools that this has affected very quickly and so this will be interesting to see where this finishes out even say next week as it seemed to really gather steam this week.”

((SCOTT)) Is there any hesitation at all about trying to finish out the season next weekend? Does that even cross your mind are you just dead-set on, hey if we can play and we’re healthy and we can find a team that’s healthy to play we’re going to play.”

((LALOR)) “Yea I think that’s kind of the plan. Where I would see it would get into some issues is if by chance Oregon can not play and then you’re become say big 6, 7, 8A schools that I don’t think that that’s probably in our best interest. You start matching up with people that are just considerably larger than you and you put your kids at risk. You’ve made it this far I don’t know if that would exactly be a real wise choice and I just tell you right now that every 24 hours is this thing changes so much that to even look ahead to next Friday or Saturday at this point, you hope you can get there, you hope everything will be okay but boy that’s a long ways away all of a sudden.”

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