DANVILLE — There has been an excitement around the Wayland-Young Athletic Facility for the past two days.
Members of the Danville boys soccer team and the football team have started their voluntary summer workouts under the IHSA Return to Play Guidelines.
“It feels great to get outside, exercise and get back in shape after three months of being quarantined,’’ said Danville senior lineman Brandon McCray. “I’m a little sore, but not as much as I expected.’’
McCray was one of the lucky ones.
“During the quarantine, I had a 35-pound dumbbell at home that I would work out with and every once in a while, I would jog to the park and back,’’ he said.
Some of his teammates were not as fortunate.
“These first two days, we have gotten winded and we’ve been dealing with cramps because it’s been a minute — but we will get back right,’’ said Danville senior defensive back Larvell Watkins. “It just feels good to get back out here with my teammates and get some work in. We have been off for a long time and I know a lot of us need this conditioning.’’
Danville senior lineman Matthew McQuown acknowledged that he is one of those players needing these workouts as these players have been on their own since March 13th because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“I haven’t really done much, so it was very important to get this started to help get us prepared for the upcoming season,’’ McQuown said.
Danville, which has had nearly 60 football players working out in eight different groups, has 67 days until is opening game against Champaign Central at McKinley Field in Champaign.
“I’m very worried about the football season,’’ said Watkins. “This is my senior year and football has been one of my highlights of high school.
“We have several goals for this year, like getting back to the playoffs and trying to go 9-0.’’
The Vikings are coming off a 6-4 season with a 56-20 loss to the Chatham Glenwood Knights in the first round of the IHSA Class 6A Playoffs.
But first, Danville must navigate its way through the protocols established by the IHSA Return to Play Guidelines, which were approved last week by the Danville District 118 School Board.
“It’s really pretty simple,’’ McCray said. “They ask you questions about your health and take your temperature. And we must always wear our mask when we are not working out.’’
On Tuesday, Danville football coach Marcus Forrest said things have worked out just fine for the Vikings and that all players have been very healthy.
Other requirements for summer workouts are that each group is limited to nine players and one coach, all players are required to bring their own towels and water bottles or sports drinks and they are not allowed to do any sport specific drills, like throwing the ball around or using blocking dummies.
So far, the Vikings have just done basic conditioning drills and plyometrics on the all-weather track at the Wayland-Young Athletic Facility.
“We did pretty much the same things last year,’’ McCray said. “We didn’t have weights and we did everything outside. I kind of like it and I think it got me in better shape for the season.’’
Danville was forced into that position a year ago because of construction work at the high school, this season, it’s part of the IHSA Guidelines.
“We are willing to do whatever it takes to get back on that field this fall,’’ McQuown said.