Ironmen seek revenge on Purple Raiders in season opener

The Normal Community Ironmen football team opens its 2021 campaign tonight, as they take on the Bloomington High School Purple Raiders at Fred Carlton Field. 

After the fall season was postponed due to COVID-19, last year’s IHSA Football season took place in the spring. Facing a shortened schedule, the Ironmen only played in 5 games and finished with a 2-3 record. 

Following a victory in the opening game at ISU’s Hancock Stadium against cross-town rival, Normal West, the Ironmen would go on to win just one more game, losing multiple players to COVID-19 issues as well as on-field injuries throughout the season. 

A key loss for the Ironmen came in the season opener, as starting dual-threat quarterback, Chase Mackey (‘22), left the game with a hand injury. Like Mackey, the Ironmen are looking ahead to their August 27 contest against Bloomington with hopes to bounce back. 

The last matchup between the two schools came on Friday, April 4, as the Purple Raiders held the Ironmen offense to just two field goals, in a frustrating 6-12 loss for the Ironmen, which snapped a 7 game win streak against the Raiders dating back to 2013. 

The win over Community was the lone victory for Bloomington, as they finished with a 1-3 record. 

“Whenever you lose to your crosstown rivals that provides extra motivation [and] probably does put a chip on the shoulder,” Ironmen head coach Jason Drengwitz said. 

Finishing atop the Big 12, for what would be the fourth time in five years, remains NCHS’ goal. “We want to win a Big 12 conference title so whoever is across from us we want to beat them,” Drengwitz said. 

Prior to Friday’s matchup, the Peoria Journal Star conducted a poll seeking the best team in the Big 12 conference for the 2021 fall season. At the time of closing, NCHS unanimously won, with 75.39% of all votes (288 votes casted,) compared to Bloomington’s 0.26% (1 vote casted). 

Kickoff is 7:00 PM at Fred Carlton Field.