Pair of Regents return to football field after year away from the game

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 9:27 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - It’s year three for Rockford University’s head football coach J.T. Zimmerman. A short 1-3 spring left some question marks in camp, but for a couple players, there is one big answer, football is back.

“It’s been two years since I played my last game so I am really excited to compete on Saturday,” Regents sophomore running back Kyle Thompson said.

“I took a gap year, but I missed football alot so I came back,” Regents freshman linebacker William Havens said.

The last time Havens put on a jersey it was Stillman Valley cardinal red, he played for Mike Lalor in 2019. Havens says he lost touch with the pigskin over time.

“Towards the end of my senior year of high school football, I started to lose interest in the game,” Havens said. “I started to lose my passion for it and I sort of finished out my high school not on the note I wanted too.”

Havens took a year off, worked in the area and stayed in touch with his football friends. Until one day he decided it was time to make a return.

“Being out of football for a year but still seeing it going on all around me and hearing about it from my peers who still played really got me thinking I need that back in my life,” Havens said.

The former defensive lineman makes a switch to linebacker, he says he is excited to be back on the field, and he won’t be the only Regent with a comeback story.

“I’m really excited like I said two years is a really long time and I’ve just been training that whole time,” Thompson said. “I am ready to come out Saturday and compete and hopefully get a win.”

Thompson also last saw the field in 2019 in high school with Hiawatha. He went to McKendree University but did not make the depth chart. It pushed him back to Rockford University to seek out other opportunities, now that he’s back he can’t wait to suit up in his first college contest.

“I feel like I am going to be nervous it’s been so long,” Thompson said. “It’s my first real college game so I’m going to be nervous but excited all at the same time.”

The Regents open the season Saturday at home, they welcome Grinnell College to Sam Greeley Field.

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