By Christopher Johnson


Thanks to action taken by the IHSA and supported by the State of Illinois Department of Public Health, the DuPec Rivermen were given the go ahead to embark on their season.

It’s been a long wait since football players from Durand and Pecatonica last took to the field. The Rivermen were knocked out of the 2A State Tournament’s second round in late 2019, courtesy of the Byron Tigers.

With COVID19 impacting the area, decisions were made at the State level, which deemed the start of the football season in August, 2020, to be too risky of an endeavor.

High school sports were put on hold for any activity that was determined to be a medium or high risk activity.

Cross country runners and golfers were able to take their turns on courts and fields in late 2020, as a result of limited opportunities for contact.

Activities such as volleyball and football, where contact is guaranteed, were stopped with the hope that everything could return to normal as soon as the risk of harm to health was reduced.

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, members of the IHSA Board of Directors gathered to make the decision on how football would be able to occur this year, with some major modifications put in place.

An updated sports schedule with additional guidance on safe facilitation was presented at the Wednesday meeting according to IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson.

“We understood the high level of anticipation surrounding today’s announcement. Ultimately the Board adhered to its stated goals throughout the pandemic, providing the opportunity for every IHSA student-athlete to compete safely this year.”

Football practices will begin on Wednesday, March 3 with the first game scheduled to be played on March 19. The length of season does not allow for a complete nine-game schedule as has been the case for every normal year prior to 2020.

There will be no State Series this year with the 2020-2021 modified football schedule to wind down no later than Saturday, April 24.

Football is not the only fall sport that will see new life this March. Girls volleyball takes to the court with practice beginning on March 8 and a season end date scheduled for April 24 as well.

Boys soccer can begin practice on Monday, March 1, with the first game to be played after seven days of practice. Soccer ends April 17 and, similar to football and volleyball, there will be no State Playoffs this year.

Completion of fall sports by the final week of April opens the door for baseball and softball players to begin practice by the end of the first week of April as part of the modified summer schedule.

There will be the requirement of a seven-day practice schedule for all summer games such as baseball, softball, lacrosse, girls soccer, tennis, boys volleyball, track and field and wrestling.

At this point, according to information collected at last Wednesday’s meeting of the IHSA Board of Directors, there is consideration of State Series competition for traditional IHSA spring sports only.

Dance and cheerleading will be allowed to conduct virtual Sectional and State Final meets as they will record their performances and submit them to be judged.

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