CARY – The bleachers were packed Friday at Cary-Grove High School with fans who came to watch the first football game of the season against Prairie Ridge High School.
In the home team’s super fan section, students dressed in blue and white stood with homemade noisemakers and posters to cheer on their team.
Cary-Grove senior Kevin McDonald, 18, sat at the front of the stands with the rest of the seniors.
“It’s the first game of the year, so we’re just trying to show school spirit, dress up, get all painted and show some school love,” McDonald said. “I love doing it. I did it last year, and I enjoyed it so much.”
McDonald’s face was painted blue and white, and his wasn’t the only one.
Cary-Grove senior Rachel Stanley, 17, said Party City in Crystal Lake was out of blue paint when she and her friends went there before the game.
“Cary-Grove took it all,” Stanley said through laughs.
While McDonald and Stanley have been super fans since their freshman years, some were coming to the game for the first time as students.
Morgan Douglas, 14, attended her first game as a Cary-Grove freshman, sitting in the back of the super fan section with others in her class.
“A lot of people at the school made a really big deal about the freshmen being new here and experiencing a first football game,” Douglas said.
Other local schools – including Johnsburg High School, Richmond-Burton Community High School, Marian Central Catholic High School, Woodstock High School, Crystal Lake South High School, Crystal Lake Central High School and Huntley High School – also kicked off the season with home games Friday.
This was the first football game Crystal Lake South High School has held since it was ordered to tear down its controversial bleachers. A compromise plan kept the west bleachers in place, but smaller. The home bleachers have since returned to the east side and expanded.
Prairie Ridge filled the away stands at the Cary-Grove game, with fans wearing white and maroon.
Prairie Ridge sophomore Jordan Driver, 15, sat in the student section, which had a white-out theme for the night.
Driver and her friend, 16-year-old Prairie Ridge junior Jonna Kilger, met in the student fan section last year.
“You can’t just sit on the sides,” Kilger said she stood in the stands with white paint on her face.
Both girls were looking forward to the rivalry game, and to their team going far this year. Last year, both Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove made it to the state semifinals.
“Being a part of the school, [being] with friends and just being a part of the whole thing is an awesome experience,” Driver said.