Glenbrook South football practices kick off a more normal season
On Monday, Illinois' high school football programs officially began their journey into a more normal football season.
Unlike last season, when the Illinois Department of Public Health placed football in a "high risk" category for COVID-19 transmission, and the Illinois High School Association moved a shortened, 6-game schedule to spring from its typical fall slot, it's now back to business as usual.
A 9-game regular season will see Week 1 games starting Aug. 27. Playoff pairings for the eight classes, based on school enrollments, will be announced Oct. 23 a few hours after Week 9 games conclude that Saturday.
The IHSA playoffs are slated for first-round games on Oct. 29-30, with state finals scheduled for Nov. 26-27 at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.
Until then, Loyola Academy will attempt to double down on last spring's 6-0 season that saw the Ramblers finish the season ranked No. 1 in Class 8A by the Associated Press.
New Trier and Maine South, as usual, will jostle for the title in the Central Suburban League's South division.
And Glenbrook North, shaken by the death of record-setting quarterback Dylan Buckner shortly before the start of last season, can simply get back to the challenge of playing winning football -- and seek to avenge last season's loss to Glenbrook South in a 21-14 overtime thriller.