Lightning may have forced the Lyons Township’s season-opening football game against visiting Warren High School to be postponed until 4 p.m. Saturday, but being ready for a new season kept spirits high.
The sophomore game against visiting Warren was stopped in the first quarter, about 5:50 p.m., when game officials spotted lightning; a decision was made later to continue and finish tha game at 1 p.m. Saturday. Illinois High School Association rules require a 30-minute wait after any sighting of lightning.
Those on the field and in stands headed inside to the field house of LT’s south campus for a delay of about 2 hours before the decision was made to hold off until Saturday.
Kevin and Julie Phelan of La Grange waited inside with everyone else during the delay, but already had a memory of their son, Michael, scoring the first touchdown of the season for the LT sophomore team. And they were looking forward to watching their freshman son, Joseph, play in the band.
“The first game of the season is very special,” Julie Phelan said. “You have hopes and anticipation of what the season might bring.”
Jeanette and Larry Thele of La Grange were at Friday’s game early enough to watch the sophomore game, which precedes the varsity contest. But opening night of the high school football season wasn’t a new experience for them. Their son, Kyle, played for LT before graduating in 2007.
“The home opener is wonderful,” Jeanette Thele said. “This is such a great community and this is something that brings the community together.”
Larry Thele agreed.
“I love football, and this marks the beginning of a new season,” he said.
Sammy Conrad, a junior member of LT’s junior varsity pom squad, said she was very excited about being at another football season opener.
“There’s lots of school spirit,” she said. “A lot of people have been talking about the game in school, and a lot of kids want to go out and support our football team. It’s a social event, along with being a game. And while the other games after this one are fun, too, the first game is always special.”
For LT senior football player Matt Mrazek, waiting for the start of his final season opener as a Lion was difficult.
“These first games are very exciting; you get back into Friday night lights,” Mrazek said while keeping an eye on the weather before the start of the varsity game. “Everyone on the team is really psyched to make that first hit of the season. This is what we’ve all been working hard for.”