IVC ready for Mid-State 6 season

Justin Miller

After falling to Dunlap, 18-13, in their first game, the Illinois Valley Central Grey Ghosts are ready to move on from the loss and get on with the rest of the season.

“We have been working on our assignments and staying on our assignments,” Heinz said during the first week of practice after the loss. “We’re just trying to get better overall. I thought we played pretty well against Dunlap, we just have to work on our fundamentals to get better day to day. We have to execute better on the field too.”

This Friday, the team will face Kankakee on the road, the same team that beat the Ghosts at Taylor Field in the 2009 playoffs.

Following the playoff rematch, the team will officially begin its first season of Mid-State 6 play when Peoria Richwoods comes to town.

“We have played a couple of their teams and had a team or two on the schedule for the past few years,” Heinz said. “So, we know a little bit of what to expect from the Mid-State 6.”

The team’s former conference, the North Central Illinois Conference, lost the Kewanee Boilermakers before the start of the 2010 season.

The Illinois High School Association gave the winner of the conference, IVC, an automatic berth in the playoffs last year but would not after that season as the conference did not have enough teams to be recognized as a conference.

After searching for a new conference, athletic director Dennis O’Boyle eventually got approval from the Mid-State 6, pitting IVC against Peoria Richwoods, Manual, Quincy Notre Dame, Peoria Notre Dame, Peoria Central High and Prairie Central.

These new teams provide IVC with a much tougher regular season schedule than the NCIC.

“There were obviously a lot of good athletes and talented teams in the NCIC,” Heinz said. “We’re playing a much bigger schools in the Mid-State 6 though. I think the biggest difference is their talent level at the skill positions.”

While the team may have the talent to compete with Mid-State 6 athletes, only time will tell how the group does in action against their new conference opponents.

“We really haven’t sat down and talked about the Mid-State 6 as a team yet,” Heinz said. “We have more been focused on Dunlap and then correcting our mistakes from the Dunlap game for Limestone. When the time comes for us to play our first game, we’ll talk about it and prepare for it from where we are at.”

The team next plays at 7 p.m. Friday at Kankakee.