Kroner's football tour '14: Hoopeston Area/Schlarman Academy
HOOPESTON — The logistics of putting together a cooperative football team from Hoopeston Area and Schlarman Academy high schools for the first time hasn’t been overwhelming for coach Michl Kearney.
“Most of these kids have played summer ball together or have gone to summer camps together,” Kearney said. “I don’t think rivalries are like they used to be. That might be more for the older generation.
“The kids get along well. Everything has been really smooth. They’ve fed off of each other.”
Kearney is working with a 32-player roster, six of whom are from Schlarman. The athletes from Danville are returning to the game after a year off from football.
Though Kearney has 10 seniors, he added, “some of them haven’t played in a while. On the field, we’re inexperienced. It’s still a building thing.”
One of the seniors (lineman Chris Webb) had shoulder surgery and hasn’t played since 2012.
Just three squad members have played football all four years in high school: Coty Coon (halfback/linebacker), Trenton Lanter (lineman/linebacker) and Jacob Varns (lineman/linebacker).
A year ago, the Cornjerkers were 0-7.
“Our attitude has always been positive, even when we had low numbers,” Kearney said. “What Danville has brought is a sense of how to do things a little differently.”
Sophomore Gavin Gard will likely be the quarterback. Gannon Hughes will be a tight end.
Before the program that will be known by four initials — HASA — takes the field, Kearney is seeking more improvement in practice.
“We’ve got to get more physical,” he said.
The team will play two of its home games at Schlarman (Sept. 12 and Oct. 17), with the other home games being in Hoopeston.