Batavia's Trey Urwiler (1) catches a pass against East St. Louis in Batavia Aug. 31.
Batavia's Trey Urwiler (1) catches a pass against East St. Louis in Batavia Aug. 31.

Assuming high school football was going to be played in fall as traditionally scheduled, Batavia senior wide receiver Trey Urwiler was "definitely planning on playing" anyway.

"Obviously, you got to be careful, but for me, football is everything to me," said Urwiler, a Northern Illinois recruit.

Suffice to say, Urwiler still plans on playing football in the spring.

Hundreds of athletes, coaches and athletic directors across the state finally learned the fate of the entire high school athletics calendar Wednesday afternoon.

Boys and girls golf, girls tennis, cross country and girls swimming and diving remain as fall sports and begin on Aug. 10, with the season running through Oct. 24.

Six sports, including football and boys soccer and girls volleyball, were shifted to the spring season. That season runs Feb. 15 through May 1.

Baseball, softball, track and field, girls soccer and three additional sports were shifted to the Summer, which will span May 3 through June 26.

While specifics for the football season are not set in stone, it is expected that a six or seven-game regular football season will commence with a possible regional state playoffs. A state championship game by class designation, however, is not likely.

The first day of football practice is slated for Feb. 15 with the possible first game of the season on March 5. Schedules will be made by the schools.

Urwiler showed cautious optimism, however, given the fluidity of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the spring season still several months away.

"I've heard stuff [from teammates] like 'Well, at least it's not getting canceled; this isn't the worst thing. [And], at least the plan is to play some sort of football,' so that was exciting," Urwiler continued.

"It's not the worst news; it's not the best news, but...I guess it's a compromise," Urwiler continued.

Urwiler emphasized with players and teammates that could potentially graduate high school early, which poses an issue with the current timeline.

"What do those guys graduating early do?" Urwiler said. "I looked into it, and I don't think I'm graduating early. But, I know that some people that are."

Other potential roadblocks for football in March include whether teams have a turf or grass field, field light availability and potential fluctuating rosters.

Prior to the announcement, Burlington Central head coach Brian Melvin and his staff were preparing for the worst.

"We'll take whatever we can get," Melvin said. "Literally. I'm confident that our district is going to do the right thing with our facilities. And, they're going to have to make some tough calls. But, I'm sure they'll do the right thing [and] what's best for the kids."

Unlike some other programs locally, the Central football program – and other Central athletics programs – have been unable to convene and practice abiding by the current IHSA Stage Four restrictions due to the lack of approval by the Central 301 School District.

The football program has maintained doing remote workouts and online film study for several months.

"[The kids] are ecstatic," Melvin said. "We don't know yet. Things can change. But, right now, it's the first glimmer of hope we have gotten since March."

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