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Belvidere North wipes the slate clean after shortened spring

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 7:32 PM CDT
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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - Belvidere North may not be the flashiest or the highest scoring offense in the NIC-10, but for nearly a decade, the Blue Thunder have been one of the most consistent teams in the conference. Now they look to surprise a few teams.

“I guess it starts right here, practicing, getting better at it every day.”

The Blue Thunder are ready to roll into another full season after a shortened 1-3 spring.

“Last season’s over with,” said head coach Jeff Beck. “It was just unfortunate the way that that went for our players. Getting two games cut short. I really felt we were starting to play our best football.”

North finished the spring on a positive, shutting out crosstown rival Belvidere. Senior tight end and all-conference honorable mention linebacker Aaron Winters looks to carry that momentum into the fall.

“I think the main thing was my offseason,” explained Winters. “Quarantine kind of helped me, I guess I would say. Just getting in the weight room, just knowing that’ll all pay off in the end.”

Offseason workouts will be a key factor for this North squad. As a Class 6A school, the Blue Thunder have just 34 players on varsity.

“We’re like a lot of programs in the state of Illinois right now that have lower numbers than usual,” said Beck. “We’re just trying to deal with it.”

One way to deal with it is giving guys new opportunities like Tavione Wilson. The senior makes the switch to running back.

“It feels great,” explained Wilson. “I’ve been telling my coach since freshman year that I wanted to carry the ball and he finally listened so it feels good.”

North has 11 returning starters that will look to get back to the postseason for a fourth straight year.

“I think we’ll be good,” said Wilson. We got some good guys out there. We got some guys who can make plays on the ball.”

“Even when things aren’t going our way, just stay together,” explained Winters. “It’s four quarters, so, we just got to go out there and play each quarter one by one. So, if one quarter doesn’t go our way, we got to know that we got to come back that other quarter.”

Since Beck took over in 2013, Belvidere North has been to the postseason every season except for one, and that year the Blue Thunder went 4-5. North opens the season against East.

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