CRYSTAL LAKE – The crowds were out in full force Friday for the first football game of the season at Prairie Ridge High School.
Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove High School’s football teams faced off in the first game of the season to give fans a taste of what was to come this fall. Last season, Prairie Ridge won the state championship in Class 6A, and Cary-Grove reached the Class 6A quarterfinals. The Wolves entered the season ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press Class 6A poll, while the Trojans were ranked No. 4.
Families, fellow student-athletes and other fans crowded the stadium Friday night for kickoff. Prairie Ridge Wolves fans decked themselves out in maroon attire and face paint on one side of the field, whereas the Cary-Grove Trojans’ side was a sea of blue and white.
Among the most excited fans in attendance were the 2017 freshmen, happy to partake in the tradition as high schoolers for the first time.
“It’s just fun to see everyone with each other and cheering each other on,” said Lauren Meyer, 14, of Prairie Ridge.
Some new students were feeling the school spirit pressure Friday, especially since they knew a lot of people from the other team. Freshman Emily Marks of Cary-Grove said she knows a lot of people from Prairie Ridge – and the heat is on come game night.
“It’s like the biggest sin of the century,” she said. “Especially on game night. You say you know so-and-so [from the opposing team] and everyone gives you the death stare. It’s really funny.”
Fellow Cary-Grove freshman Allie Buytendorp agreed, but said it was fun to come to games as a high schooler for the first time.
“There is a big difference between coming to the football games in middle school year and high school year,” she said. “Because you know everybody. They are either in your class or have a locker next to you or a friend introduced you.”