South Mac players anticipate first season on gridiron

South Mac players anticipate first season on gridiron

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The Macoupin County communities of Bunker Hill and Mt. Olive have been county and natural rivals for many years in all sports.

But for one sport, football, all that changed late last winter, when it was announced that Bunker Hill and Mt. Olive would start a co-op. The South Mac Chargers, as what they have been named, are ready to get the co-op started.

Head coach Brian Borowski and the coaching staff have been getting to know the players since taking over the newly established Chargers. They’ve had team fundraisers and last week hosted a football camp.

Wednesday evening, the wind was blustery and the humidity was down, making for nearly a perfect night for football. The sun beat down on the practice field at Bunker Hill High School, where the camp was taking place.

Players who had earlier been getting their new helmets adjusted, slowly began trekking onto the practice field. Within a few minutes, the Chargers began drills.

Seven weeks from now, the Chargers will hit the field running when they travel to Trenton Wesclin for the season opener on August 25.

The Chargers’ first home game as a program is the following week against Blue Ridge.

Senior players for the Chargers say that the transition has gone pretty good, and looking forward to having a good season.

Running back/middle linebacker Jonathon Darrah of Mt. Olive, who last year had 884 yards rushing and seven touchdowns for the Wildcats, says he is looking forward to getting going.

“We’re getting along pretty well,” Darrah said. “Bunker Hill has some really good athletes so I think it’ll work out good. We’ll have a better team and the numbers are up, so we should win a lot more football games.”

Nick DeVries, a senior linebacker and wide receiver from Mt. Olive, caught five passes for 128 yards last year, while rushing for 413 yards and two touchdowns.

DeVries hopes the team bonding concepts continue heading into the season.

“The coaches have helped us – we’ve bonded pretty good,” DeVries said. “There’s a lot of talent showing up and a lot of kids.”

DeVries said that making new friends and having fun are what he is looking forward to this season, adding the team should have a pretty good season.

Joey Stephens is a outside linebacker/tight end from Mt. Olive. He had 16 tackles, seven solo as a junior last year for the Wildcats.

“Everybody works well together and get along,” Stephens said. “I think we’re going to have a good season. I am looking forward to football and playing as a team.”

Gage Terpening is a senior center from Bunker Hill said it will have a different feeling, but looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s a little different having Mt. Olive since they use to be our rivals,” Terpening said. “Most of them I use to go head-to-head with them and now they’re on the same side of the line as me.”

He also said getting use to more coaches has also been a transition.

“We’ve got all these other coaches I still have to learn their names,” Terpening said.

Bunker Hill and Mt. Olive will share the practice time at both schools, and both schools will host two games this year.

Mt. Olive will host the Blue Ridge game on Sept. 1 and Dupo Sept. 29.

Bunker Hill will host Pawnee Sept. 8 and Marquette on Oct. 13.