Week 1 prep football views
It was 30 minutes before kickoff, but I could tell it was going to be a good night.
I purchased a diet pepsi from the Villa Grove concession stand and it was so cold there were small pieces of ice inside the plastic bottle. Just what was needed on a steamy evening.
The national anthem was played by the band. I prefer to hear a soloist, but the 17 members of the band did just fine.
One highlight of the game was when the teams couldn't play for 13 minutes in the second half. The on-site ambulance got called away and the game was delayed until a fire truck and paramedics could arrive. I guess I can retire now. I really have seen everything.
First games are difficult to evaluate. The competing schools, Villa Grove/Heritage and Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond, were both picked for first place in their respective divisions of the Little Okaw Valley Conference, which is entering its 44th year of competition.
Arthur was a charter member. Villa Grove joined in time for the inaugural 1971 season. When the schools played last year, A-L/A-H won. The Knights returned starters at 21 positions, but it was the home team playing on Russ Ghere Field which scored twice in the first 10 minutes and never trailed en route to a 20-6 triumph.
I see playoff berths in line for both the Blue Devils and the Knights. This year.
It was nice to walk the sidelines again for a game. In my 40 years of covering the area preps, I've only been confined to a press box three times, all because of torrential downpours. That's three times excluding the IHSA state championship games. They require media to sit in the press box, unless they are taking pictures.
Want to know what a nice going-away present would be? To cover a state championship football game this year at the UI's Memorial Field on the field. A guy can dream, can't he?