Four times a week, 28 young men perspire through two-hour practices on a grass field that bears no resemblance to a football field.
There is no striping and not a single blocking sled or tackling dummy.
Yet the enthusiasm these players share for the sport is what has brought them together as teammates on the Southside Crimson Knights, an independent squad composed of students who are either home-schooled or attend a private school where football is not offered.
The Crimson Knights actually existed for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, but only in the form of a middle school team. Recent weeks paint a different picture with Southside not only fielding a varsity (Grades 9-12) team but playing in actual games against IHSAA member schools such as Wes-Del, Eastern Greene and, tonight, Edinburgh.
“They got a hold of (athletics director) Tim (Jordan), and we had an open date and said OK,” Lancers coach Bill Unsworth said. “For us to get people who are (Class) A, that’s not always easy for us in this area.
“It’s just one of those things that fit, so we said we’ll give it a shot.”
This won’t be the Crimson Knights’ initial trip to Edinburgh. Able to play a schedule featuring both varsity and junior varsity opponents as an entity not affiliated with the IHSAA, Southside defeated the Lancers’ junior varsity squad 28-0 on Aug. 27.