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Rockford Christian finds a new home for its spring football season

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 11:11 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The unknown of a high school football season had everyone biding their time waiting for an answer. Once the go-ahead was given to resume in the spring, schools scrambled to put together schedules. However, Rockford Christian was almost left on the bench.

Rockford Christian prepared for a football season just like any other program had this spring. But, unlike other programs, the Royal Lions were missing a dance partner on the field. Most of the Northeastern Athletic Conference either moved to 8-Man or decided not to play this year.

“Emails and trying to just get (creative), to find ways to put this together, for literally months, and then all of a sudden in one morning, it came together,” explained head coach Brett Frederick.

The Northwest Upstate Illini Conference (NUIC) asked the Royal Lions to fill-in for Ashton-Franklin Center, after the Raiders switched to 8-Man just before the year started.

“Obviously we didn’t know if we were having a season,” said junior Nolan Longley. “It got pushed back to spring. It’s just nice to be out here playing football, hitting people again.”

Rockford Christian jumps right in where AFC left off, joining one of the top small school conferences in the state.

“Us seniors, we’re just ready and focused that this is our last year and last opportunity to get out there and play with our boys,” said senior Caden Norquist.

“Most of us won’t be able to play football after high school and it’s just really exciting I get to as this last go around,” exclaimed Jacob Hulstedt.

Frederick called it a wild ride, but something the players say they’re on board for.

“It just really opened everyone’s eyes that this season’s here and we got to get ready for next week and the future weeks,” said Norquist.

With so much uncertainty already coming into this season from a health perspective, the players and coaches relied on their religion to guide them.

“We talk about faith all the time and this certainly challenged that situation,” said Frederick. “But, in the end, the good Lord provided for us, to give us opportunities to play.”

“I prayed almost every night just wishing we could have a season and hoping we could have a season” said Hulstedt. “It finally answered, and I’m glad it did.”

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