• Dave McKenzie

Carterville Lions Football - Let's Get This Thing Started!

The official IHSA start date for high school football practice is August 6th. The "unofficial" start to the season is tonight as Carterville High School host their annual "Meet the Lions" night at CHS.

There is a chance of rain and maybe some thunderstorms tonight, however the activities will go on rain or shine. If necessary, the player introductions of the fall sports teams will be moved inside the gym.

I want to say thank you in advance to the Carterville Lions Athletic Booster Club for all the hard work in to making this event possible.

I've had a chance to spend some time at practice this week, getting my first real look at the 2018 football Lions.

When you look at the roster, it's interesting to see that here is the breakdown by class:

Seniors - 17

Juniors - 7

Sophomores - 17

After watching practices this week, and in the conversations I've had, it would be hard to predict where this team will finish this year.

Depth will an issue for the Lions. The Lions will be strong on both sides of the ball with the senior led class, however, t will be the second string where there are questions. With only seven juniors on the roster, that means several sophomores may see action.

It's interesting to see such a small number from the junior class, as recently we have heard news that several teams in Southern Illinois will not have enough players to field freshman football teams.

The Mississippi River-to-River Conference is going to tough as always. Anna-Jonesboro, Du Quoin, Nashville and Murphysboro will be tough opponents as always, and don't forget about cross-county rival Herrin. The Lions will finish up the season on the road at Effingham, for a one-year-only match up, since Massac County was dropped from the football schedule. Starting next year, the week nine game will be with Mascoutah.

The Lions will "officially" open the season, next Friday night at home when they host the Benton Rangers. This game is always a good test for Coach Dennis Drust and the Lions. The Rangers have a new head coach in Justin Groves who is replacing Bob Pankey. Coach Groves played in the first playoff game in BCHS history back in the 1995.

So where do I think the Lions will finish this year? After seeing practice this week, I think five wins are entirely possible, IF the Lions starters stay healthy. If not, the Lions could struggle to get to that five win mark.

It should be interesting to see how this team comes together, and we will have a better sense of what this team has in about 2 weeks, following the Herrin game in week two.

Needless to say, I am ready for Carterville Lions football to get started. You can join me and my partner Scott Hudson for all the action every week on NewsRadio WJPF and we will also be live streaming all of the football and basketball games again this year. You can watch the games by going to here.

As always..."Roar Lions Roar"!

Carterville Lions athletics have a new website. Please visit http://il.8to18.com/Cartervillelions/ for all the schedules, rosters and news stories for our Carterville Lions.