The challenges facing Public League football are well-documented. Most stem from financial disparities between Chicago Public Schools and their suburban and private counterparts.
There aren’t enough coaches, equipment or practice fields for the average Public League school to field a competitive program.
The pandemic has dealt another significant blow to Public League football. The schools weren’t allowed all the contact days and practices that other schools had over the last year. And CPS high school kids still aren’t attending school in person, which has made gathering players for practice or anything at all a challenge.
To put it plainly, the Public League players are out of shape and months of practice behind everyone else.
That showed in Taft’s 37-0 loss to visiting Crystal Lake South on Saturday. The Eagles are one of the best-coached and most capable programs in the Public League and they couldn’t manage to score against a Fox Valley team that came in winless.
Phillips was clearly rusty in its season-opening win and many CPS schools have totally opted out of the football season. In many ways it is just a lost year for CPS sports, even the high-profile basketball teams averaged less than nine games during the season.
There is one positive on the horizon. It seems likely that CPS will start school in August instead of the traditional post-Labor Day start. That would be a major boon for Public League football programs, which usually have to begin the season before school starts, making it difficult to find players.