ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — There are still some doubts about whether or not we’ll see fall sports in our high schools this year, but local coaches and athletes are staying optmistic and staying prepared.
This is the first week that teams in Illinois have been allowed to hold group workouts of up to 50 people. At Rockford Lutheran High School Tuesday evening football players showed up for their first team workout. They had their temperatures checked, and they were asked a series of questions about their health before they could take the practice field.
Coaches wore facemasks during practice. Players had their own water bottles. They were following the safety protocols that have been spelled out by the IHSA for Return To Play. It’s some extra layers of effort, but the coaches and players say it’s worth it to be back on the field together.
“A lot of my coaches, we’re ready to get out of the house and get back to football and get back to just being around the guys,” said Lutheran head coach Tony Ambrogio. “It makes us feel young when we get to do that, but on the other side there’s a lot of responsibility and some liabilities for us too as far as coaches, and I would say that’s a daunting task for everybody in this pandemic.”
Ambrogio believes his team and other teams can still have productive practices inspite of the changes.
“I think so. I don’t think those protocols are too stringent for us to not have a normal practice, so I think we’ll be okay to start, and I think we’re going to get used to them.”
Lutheran senior quarterback Josh Oetting was wearing a PPE mask when he told us how pleased he was to be back with his teammates.
“It’s great! It’s going to be a lot of fun to see everybody and play football.”
Players and coaches throughout Illinois are hoping opening night of the regular season does go off as planned on August 28.