Offseason dedication has Trojans ready for kickoff

Last Friday evening’s blue and white scrimmage was full of many different feelings from many different people. There was reunion, pride, community, and hope for a great year. However, most of all, there was great anticipation.

It was the same anticipation that had built itself up since November 4, 2017 — the CG/PR game. Now, almost 10 months later, the wait that started on such a sour note is over. The scrimmage means one thing more than any other: it’s time for Trojans football.

A real sign of this community’s anticipation and fandom to this team showed Friday, when attendance for the scrimmage rivaled the attendance of many other school’s regular games. Parents, fans, alumni and more all came out to get their first look at all three teams, not just varsity.

Following the last short scrimmage — varsity offense vs varsity defense — Coach Krebs took the mic to announce the best agility and lifting achievements of the offseason. Coach Seaburg then closed it off by introducing and recognizing the rest of his coaching staff, as well as the winning Hudl group.

The Hudl group contest is a way for the players to stay in good standing academically and physically throughout the offseason and build leadership and team skills, all while having the incentive of competing against fellow groups.

Some of this year’s seniors drafted teams at the end of last season based off who they thought would have good character and get them “points.” Groups are awarded “points” throughout the offseason for a number of different things. Good grades, attendance at winter and summer lifting, ringing the bells for the Salvation Army around Christmas, attending other CG sporting events as a whole group, and much, much more can get groups some points.

However, bad grades, poor attendance and more can negatively affect the group’s points. It’s a real test of leadership and determination by the senior leaders to get their group to come out on top.

This year’s winning group was led by senior Harry Heinisch, someone who seems to have risen to that challenge.

When announcing the winning group’s members, Coach Seaburg mentioned that partly what set this group apart was their attendance at lifting, even during finals week. After the scrimmage and awards were through, I asked Heinisch about this and more.

“I just basically reiterated what Coach Seaburg would always say. Those are the dog days, the winter and the spring.” Heinisch said of his group’s perfect attendance during both finals weeks. “That’s probably the toughest part of football. Now, this is the fun part.”

Heinisch makes a good point there. The offseason grind is over, now it’s time for more than nine weeks of crazy superfans, bright lights, and big wins in front of basically the entire community. This is what they have been getting ready for these last 10 months, and now they’re only days away.

Senior Addison West may have put it best: “It’s week one. We’re finally hitting someone else other than blue and white.”

Friday night, the kickoff between the Trojans and the Crystal Lake South Gators will be at 7 p.m., at CG. The last time these teams met was early October of last year, week seven. That was also a home game, and C-G came out with an easy 41-14 win.

In that game, the big story was how many star players were out with injury, and how many seniors and juniors stepped up and used this blowout to show how resilient that team was.

Most of those players who stepped up were juniors and even sophomores. That means that those guys will all be back, now in an even bigger role, both on and off the field.

“It’s totally different being a senior now,” Heinisch said, and West agreed.

“You have to step up as a leader,” West said. “As a player, you have to be on your game all the time. Last year, the seniors took over sometimes. Now, you have to take over.”

Coach Seaburg agreed with Heinisch and West about stepping up as senior leaders. He also addressed how prep for this week one game is different than the others.

“It’s similar to the other games, but the difference is that you don’t have any film on your opponent,” he said. “So, both teams are kind of just guessing on what the other teams going to do. Next week, we’ll have film of our opponent. We’ll have an idea.”

It’s obvious that this team and these fans are ready to get this season going. If the feeling and attendance of the scrimmage showed anything, it was that. For the players’ part, all eyes are on the future now.

“You don’t want to forget about what happened last year,” Heinisch said. “But you don’t want to dwell on it. It’s your team now.”

“You always think about it,” West said. “But you just persevere through it, and work harder from it.”


An extra note-

As I did last year, I will be writing and reporting on the varsity team week to week. That being said, I want to try to feature separate stories and such about the frosh/soph and JV teams, off-the-field stuff, and personal stories about specific players. Follow me on Twitter, @mfojr, for tweets when I have new content online. Also, message me or @cgtrojantimes about new story ideas, whether about football or beyond. Thank you, and go Trojans!