Friday nights now different for Clay

In an ordinary year, Jason Clay would have been with his coaching staff and players on the football field for this year’s season opener.
Instead, he enjoyed some time with his family and watching some football.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the IHSA had adjusted all Illinois high school sports. Under that schedule, the football Vandals will be playing next spring.
“Yeah, it was tough to think about it, but, hopefully, things will pan out for us in the spring,”t Clay said. “I mean, you’re talking about how many years that you’re out here on the football field on a Friday night.
“I was hanging out with my family,” he said, describing last Friday night.
“We were talking about the fact that we weren’t going to a football game together, we ate supper together.
“I think everybody was disappointed, including the kids and my wife … and I definitely was,” he said.
Along with some family time, Clay watched some video from last season’s opener with Gillespie “and I watched a little high school football on ESPN.”
The new schedule for football is a break in a routine that Clay had followed for more than two decades – four years as a member of the Vandals squad, one year as a student teacher at Breese Mater Dei and 18 years as an assistant and head coach of the Vandals.
“Coach (John) Stout said that this is the first year since 1967 that he hadn’t been at a Friday night opening night football game, all the way back to when his dad was coaching,” Clay said.
Under the current IHSA schedule, the Vandals and other high school football teams will have some contact days this fall.
“So, we look forward to getting out on the field and doing some things,” Clay said.
The rescheduling of football games for next spring does not have an effect on the coaches and players.
Football in the fall, Clay said, “helps to kick off a new school year.
"It’s really the first social event of the school year.”

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