SESSER — The countdown clock is officially ticking for the start of Illinois high school football season as practices started across the state Monday.
One of the more interesting preseason storylines comes from Sesser, where the Red Devils have added a Hall of Fame coach to the mix.
Sesser-Valier/Waltonville finished 7-3 a year ago, making a third straight playoff appearance. John Shadowens’ club added a new piece for 2019–as Hall of Fame coach Mike Rude joined Shadowens, and the two will be co-head coaches.
"Coach Rude has been great," said Shadowens. "It’s been exactly what I thought it would be. He’s an encyclopedia of knowledge both for the kids and our coaching staff. We’ve married together pretty well things I feel maybe I had some weaknesses as a head coach goes. Coach Rude has filled in those gaps very, very well. His attention to detail is off the charts."
"From probably the start of the summer with the summer workouts, the attitude of the kids and their work ethic just impressed me to no end," said Rude. "Working with the John, the way we worked during the summer and starting the practices, it’s been great. I feel like I have a new lease on life."
Rude has made quite an impression with his new players both on the field and in the film room.
"Coach Rude is very cool," said Red Devils’ senior Matthew Thery. "I’ve got a lot of respect for him even in the short time that I’ve got to meet. He definitely knows his stuff with football, and I’ve enjoyed working with him so far."
DK: "Have you ever seen a game film on VHS before?"
"That’s a new thing we’re starting this year, trying to figure how to work the VHS," said Thery.
The Red Devils will open the season on the road against the defending Diamond champion Fairfield Mules.