Richwoods football opponent out with COVID; homecoming game now a soccer match

Adam Duvall
Journal Star

The Richwoods football team will be getting back-to-back bye weeks after Harvey Thornton canceled its Friday trip to Peoria because of COVID-19 protocols.

Richwoods athletics director Ron Dwyer confirmed Thursday morning the Week 6 nonconference game with Harvey Thornton had been called off. The Knights' Week 7 game had already been forfeited due to Big 12 Conference opponent Urbana dropping to a junior varsity schedule due to low numbers.

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Richwoods is now 2-5 heading into a Week 8 home game against Normal West.

“It has been a challenge,” Dwyer said of the constant schedule changes. “I mean any AD you've ever talked to you … we're just all pulling our hair out, because if it's not one thing, it seems to be another.

“I didn't see the COVID coming from Harvey. And then, of course, the Urbana thing. That’s a conference opponent. You don't really ever think you'll lose a conference opponent. Our conference is pretty darn strong. Just bad luck, and the fact that it happened to fall on our homecoming, double bad luck.”

Homecoming now a soccer game

In the game's place, the Richwoods boys soccer team will play its nonconference match against Roanoke-Benson/Eurek on Endres Field, according to Dwyer. The varsity match will play at 5 p.m. Friday followed by a JV contest.

Homecoming was originally scheduled for Week 7 against Urbana.

“I'm glad we happened to have a soccer game scheduled so we can kind of save homecoming that way,” Dwyer said, “and soccer is having a nice year, so that's a great honor. Give them something they've never had a chance to do — play up there in front of everybody and be part of homecoming that way.

“We've had to go to homecoming plan C,” Dwyer continued. “We had plan B was to play this Friday night against Thornton and call it homecoming.

“We’ve never done that before, but you just can only do what you can with what you got, so we're going to play a soccer game and do our homecoming festivities. And it'll be different, but it's going to be fine. It's the best we can do.”

Normal homecoming festivities — announcing of the homecoming court along with cheerleaders and Royalettes dance team performing — will still take place during the soccer match.

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Replacing Urbana 

Dwyer says he searched and searched for an opponent to replace Urbana.

He looked at out of state options in Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin. Lisle Benet Academy (2-3), a projected Class 6A playoff team in the Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference, was one option with a Week 7 opening. It didn’t come to fruition.

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“Unfortunately, you're waiting for some team to come down with COVID, so somebody else has an opening,” Dwyer said, “then you're hoping to find somebody in your same class, so you're not playing a small school or we're playing somebody twice your size. It's very hard. 

“We're trying to rebuild here. We need to be competitive with somebody or at least have a chance.”

Adam Duvall is a Journal Star sports reporter. Email him at aduvall@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.