The sounds of summer now includes more crunch.
The reduction of offseason football limitations has allowed Illinois high school teams, such as New Trier and Loyola Academy, to engage in more game-like activities.
Under the newly amended IHSA rules, summer football sessions can include more players and more time in pads, and New Trier and Loyola have taken advantage, uniting on June 22 for a combined practice as is now permissible.
Trevians coach Brian Doll said the new rules offers a real benefit.
“The main thing with practicing with another team is you’re not going against the same people, like you do every day,” he said. “The competition level increases and I think everyone loves that. You’re getting to see and simulate against different offenses and defenses and you’re watching how teams adjust. … All that stuff is very valuable to us.”
Doll said joint practices also provide a different look at your team’s personnel, such as who is prepared for competition and which athletes “made that big leap” in the offseason.
High school programs can participate in a limited number of joint practices, and New Trier also practiced with St. Charles North in June.
The summer work all leads up to the 2023-’24 season that is just about a month away. Full team practices begin mid August, and Week 1 is Aug. 25 for New Trier and Aug. 26 for Loyola.
When The Record published a look at local football schedules in early June, the Ramblers were still seeking a Week 1 opponent.
And boy have they found one.
Last season, Loyola began its run to an IHSA Class 8A championship with a blockbuster victory against St. Xavier (Ohio) in a game that was televised by ESPN.
This time around, Loyola will travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to take on Catholic Central, which has a 48-3 record over the past four seasons and earned state championships in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The Cougars lost in the Division 5 semifinals a year ago.
“We are very excited to find a Week 1 opponent,” Loyola coach Beau Desherow said in an email to The Record. “Catholic Central is an outstanding program. They will be a very well-coached and talented team. Scheduling a tough non-conference game like this one will help prepare us for the Chicago Catholic League Blue schedule.”
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