ROCKFORD – The Friday Night Football two-a-days preview series began with the first team to practice on Monday, August 12.
The East E-Rabs, for the third year in a row, blew the whistle at 12:01 am in the East High fieldhouse for a midnight practice as the calendar officially turned to Monday.
“It’s definitely unique because you never hear about something like this going on,” says East senior tight end Carter Wyatt. “Not only do we get to get more reps, it’s a team bonding experience, you get to know your team a lot better.”
They’re hard at work after consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in more than 30 years.
“I’ve always given credit to my guys,” says head coach Gary Griffin. “My staff works hard and we’ve had good players. It’s Jimmy’s and Joe’s, not X’s and O’s.”
“We’re gonna be really young,” Griffin added. “This summer we had sophomores and a freshman that just dominated. These guys are gonna play.”
These E-Rabs will run the football with one of the best in our region.
“I’d argue we have the best running back in the area in Tay Lake. He ran for 1600 yards last year when everyone knew he was getting the ball every time. We’re gonna give him the ball every time again and we’ll see where it takes us.”
No running game can succeed without the men up front.
“It’s the O-line,” Wyatt said. “It’s always been the O-line. We have some big guys in the trenches, we know how to pressure on defenses and wear them down. As soon as we get a couple quarters in, we hit the third and fourth quarter and that’s when we take over.”
East has won 11 games in the last two years after six combined wins in the previous three seasons. They’ll start the 2019 at Swanson Stadium in Rockford on August 30 against Belvidere North.