By Christopher Johnson


The Winnebago Indians varsity football team welcomes in the fall season this Friday night as they play host to Genoa-Kingston in game one of the nine-game campaign.

Based on recent season successes, the Cogs are one of those teams the Indians know they must knock back, if they have designs on competing for a Big Northern Title.

Genoa-Kingston is a high scoring team with a strong defensive presence. They have attended the IHSA State Playoffs for seven consecutive seasons.

The Cogs also carried an undefeated mark during the abbreviated and adjusted fall-into-spring season, closing their year with a 3-0 mark.

While Genoa-Kingston was pushing its way into 4A playoff games, Winnebago found itself fighting for playoff consideration, over the past few seasons.

The Indians last venture into 3A Tournament play was in 2017. Prior to that, they had been a regular participant in eight of the previous nine seasons.

Knocking off Genoa-Kingston is a huge indicator of how ready Winnebago will be to take on the rest of the field, in a top-end loaded Big Northern Conference.

Squads such as Dixon, Stillman Valley, Byron and have all found successes in recent seasons as well, including battling for the conference crown.

Many times they had to dispatch the Cogs to achieve their grand status as best of the bunch.

The home match for the Indians will start off with a junior varsity contest, which is slated for kick-off around 5pm.

Fans are encouraged to attend with a mask optional approach, since all football matches will be played in a stadium setting, thus bypassing the IHSA’s ruling that masks must be worn during all IHSA-sanctioned indoor events.

Following the season opener against Genoa-Kingston, the Indians head out on the road for game two against Big Northern challenger for the throne, Byron.

The Tigers have found similar successes as Genoa-Kinsgston has, when it came to regular season play and post-season visitations, even surpassing the Cogs streak of post-season appearances.

That stretch incorporates back-to-back 3A Finals appearances in which the Tigers pulled down consecutive second place finishes.

Game battles lighten up slightly as the Indians return home for game three of the regular season. The Indians play host to Rock Falls in a Sept. 10 match and remain home the following week for a winnable contest against southerly neighbor Oregon on Sept. 17.

If Winnebago can find itself knocking back at least two of their first four opponents, they will find themselves in the position of potential second-season involvement.

A Friday, Sept. 24 away game at Dixon could be one of those contests that the Indians know they will have to compete at an above average level.

The Dukes are recent co-champions of the Big Northern and provide a serious threat to overall success for the Indians this season.

A game six road game at Rockford Christian is also one of those matches that the Indians have to pencil in as a “needed win,” ahead of a week seven home game against 4A powerhouse Stillman Valley.

The final home game of the regular season will be played on Friday, Oct. 15 versus North Boone with the season finale played on the road at Rockford Lutheran on Oct. 22.

The IHSA State Playoffs are “on again” this season, they will begin on Oct. 29. The 2020-2021 school year closed without any post-season football played due to the influence of COVID-19.

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