Football: Rochelle hosts annual Purple vs. White scrimmage

Senior Ethan Etes goes under center during the Rochelle varsity football team's Purple vs. White scrimmage on Friday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Kissack confident as Hubs head into opening week

ROCHELLE — Friday’s Meet the Hubs Fall Family Night concluded with the annual Rochelle Township High School Purple vs. White scrimmage on the football field. The Hubs debuted their new varsity uniforms for the home crowd, and with exactly one week before kicking off the 2019 season against Pekin, head coach Kyle Kissack and his team are ready to go.

“We improved every day this week and we finished well during our scrimmage tonight,” Kissack said. “We’re worried about ourselves and how we can get better every day. Pekin has a great football program with a lot of tradition. We’re looking forward to going down south, and we’ll focus on the things we can do to get better next week.”

The inaugural Fall Family Night event recognized all of the RTHS fall sports programs, with brief performances from the RTHS cheerleading and dance programs. The Purple vs. White football scrimmage kicked off after the event, with the freshmen squaring off before the varsity players took the field. Senior quarterback Ethan Etes led the varsity offense through first-team reps on Friday, and the Hubs will look to improve on their 27.9 scoring average from 2018.

“I like the way we’ve worked together,” Kissack said. “We have young kids and inexperienced kids who have come together and meshed well. If there’s a strength, it’s that they’re all pulling for each other in a really genuine way. That’s exciting, and the kids are workers. They come in and work every day, and they’re the type of kids that every coach wants.”

Rochelle’s youth also applies to the defensive side of the ball, where the Hubs are returning senior lineman Charlie Jandak, who earned the 2019 Hub Power Male Weightlifter of the Year Award during the Fall Family Night event. As the Hubs gear up for their first season in the Interstate Eight Conference, they’ll seek to lower their 23.0 points allowed average. Kickoff for Friday’s opener at Pekin is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

“I think our back end has the most experience,” Kissack said. “Our secondary and our linebackers have the most experience, and we threw a lot at them toward the end of the summer, but they did a nice job adjusting. We’re looking to find a rotation up front that will fit for us, but I feel very comfortable with where we’re at on defense.”

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