Mercer County varsity football coach settles in new role
ALEDO — It didn’t take long for Andrew Hofer to settle in as the new varsity football coach at Mercer County High School.
“I was able to meet with my assistants five or six times before the end of the school year,” Hofer said, during an early-morning session of weightlifting last week. “We were able to stay on the same page and get everything ready for the summer.”
Serving as his assistant coaches are Brian Dennison (QBs, DBs), Eric Russell (DBs, RBs), Dustin Murray (WRs, LBs), Jason Kenney (OL, LBs) and Dennis Clark (TEs, DL).
Hofer said he’s got over 50 kids currently out for football and he’s hoping to get a couple more kids out. “It’s still June,” Hofer said, hoping that number goes to 60-some in the next year or two.
Hofer inherits a Mercer County football program that finished 5-5 last season.
But make no mistake about it, Hofer is well aware of the football tradition in Aledo and he is doing his best to embrace it all.
“The tradition here at Mercer County is second to none,” Hofer said. “I think this is one of those kind of Mount Rushmore of Illinois High School football places. Everyone in the state recognizes this place. I’m very happy to be here and be part of the community and part of this program.
“The last month, I’ve been able to meet a lot of the guys and a lot of people around town. You can tell the excitement and the energy when they talk about Mercer County football. It is special and you can tell it is special just how people act and talk about the program. It is something I’ve tried to immerse myself into.”
At press time, Hofer said his Golden Eagles team will be competing in their final night of the Rock Island league. His football camp will run July 18-21. Then, they play in a couple of tournaments in Washington and Monmouth July 23 and 30.
“So far this summer, everything is going smoothly and the kids are buying in,” Hofer said. “We are seeing a little bit of progress each and every day, and that’s all you can ask for out of these kids.”
The Golden Eagles football team will open up the season at home on Aug. 26 against Farmington and then travel to play Illini West on Sept. 2. The tough part of that Lincoln Trail Conference schedule will be in weeks 4 and 5 with back-to-back games against Stark County and Kewanee Wethersfield.
Hofer summed up his goal for the Mercer County football program well by saying: “Keep the program in the place that the community is proud to call its own and to develop these young men into leaders for our community and our society.”