MARION (WSIL) -- On Tuesday, Marion Football announced they are playing Mt. Carmel on Saturday, March 27th. The game is scheduled for a 2 o'clock kickoff from Mt. Carmels historic Riverview Stadium, better known as the "Snake Pit."
"Attitude. Attitude is great," Marion Head Football Coach Kerry Martin said. "Work ethic is great and that's the thing that has held this team together for so long. We feel like if you've got that, then you give yourself a chance to have a good year. You throw in some talent, which I think we have some talent and you put in a great work ethic and good things happen."
"We're making every rep the best," Marion junior left tackle Ethan Crosby said. "I can say that for the whole team, because we're making every rep because we still don't know if we are going to have that season or not."
"Our confidence and the way we run plays and everything, we don't mess up too many so we feel really confident in the plays we run," Marion senior right tackle Chase Hancock said.
There's no complaining with this Wildcats team. Coach Martin calls them resilient. Business as usual with this group.They feel fortunate to just be on the practice field. They understand by moving games to the spring, they now have extra time to to learn and improve their craft.
"I feel like our communication is better O-Line wise and who we are blocking and everything, It's better than last year in my opinion," Hancock said.
"I'm learning everything I can since this is my first year on varsity," Crosby said. "I want to make the most of the experience to go into next year, but I'm definitely learning and playing at the same time. Learning everything coaches say, learning every aspect of football in general. I'm trying to soak that as much as I can."
"Seems like the carry over is really good from practice to practice, from drill to drill, they seem to be learning as usual and asking a lot of really good questions," Martin said.
For Marion and the rest of the teams in Illinois, it's not easy to watch your neighbor play, while you remain patient and wait your turn.
"That's hard, that's hard for everybody to watch ball games on TV or on the internet and watch the news, and hear them talk about Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana football games being played and here we sit not playing so it's a tough thing because so many people around us are active and having a normal year on the field and we are waiting until the spring. We just take it a day at a time and keep working."
There may not be games, but the fall practices hold a strong value for our local schools.
"Be together and have some camaraderie and have the coaching staff as well. It's healthy for us too. All of those things are a huge deal. I think they are bigger deals than we even know it. I think this is very therapeutic for our kids."