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WESTVILLE — The Oct. 26, 2019, high school football game between Georgetown-Ridge Farm and Westville served as the Tigers’ home finale in that season.

Westville earned a 35-22 victory to cap a 4-5 campaign.

This was the last home game for coach Guy Goodlove’s Class of 2020 athletes.

But it’s also been the most recent home game for the Tigers, who returned for the program’s six-game 2021 spring season.

“I was very shocked at first,” junior running back/linebacker Rylee Edwards said. “But you’ve just got to get used to the different enviornments when you play away.”

Ongoing renovations at Westville High School include work being done to the football field.

As such, all six of the Tigers’ games are on the road during their COVID-19 pandemic-shortened schedule. They aren’t even practicing where they’re accustomed to doing so, traveling either to the junior high school or Zamberletti Park to work out.

Westville fell to Fisher 24-6 and Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 48-7 before fending off Oakwood 20-14 last Friday in a thrilling Vermilion Valley Conference game.

The win was sealed by junior linebacker Will Terry intercepting a Comets pass at the Tigers’ 1-yard line with 7 seconds to play.

“Our defense stepped up in the biggest moments,” junior lineman Bryce Burnett said. “We had the classic we bent but we didn’t break (mentality), and that was the biggest thing.”

Edwards, Burnett and Terry are part of a 12-strong junior class that largely leads Westville, which boasts just four seniors but also six sophomores and eight freshmen.

Edwards highlighted Terry, senior Dalton High, sophomores Justin Slazas, Landon Haurez and Tre Ramirez and freshman Drew Wichtowski as just some of the athletes who’ve stepped up.

“They’re working their butts off in practice, just like everybody else is,” Edwards said. “It’s going to help our group next year tremendously.”

Westville’s athletic Twitter account has shared photos of the Tigers in BHRA’s gymnasium lobby and Oakwood’s gym prior to those games’ opening kickoffs.

“We’ve still got to stay mentally focused while you’re ... waiting to go out on the field,” Burnett said. “All of that’s been pretty tough to just stay all together and in that mindset that we’ve got to have in order to win the games.”

The Tigers (1-2) visit Hoopeston Area/Armstrong-Potomac (1-2) on Saturday before finishing the season at Salt Fork (2-0) on April 16 and at Georgetown-Ridge Farm (0-2) on April 23.

“I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to compete (in) or win those games,” Burnett said. “We’re wanting to start that winning culture over again in Westville.”

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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