The schedule shows the homecoming game for the Mid-County co-op as Sept. 27 against Monmouth United.
But for Grant Gullstrand, every day has been homecoming.
The 2011 ROWVA High School grad has returned to coach the football team. He was part of the first co-op team that made the playoffs.
A Monmouth College grad, Gullstrand has been an assistant coach at Monmouth-Roseville . He was the sophomore and offensive line coach at Galesburg for two seasons.
And Gullstrand, 26, sees this as more than just a coaching opportunity. It’s the place he wants to be for a long time.
He told the Register-Mail in June he could consider this his “forever job.” It’s a point he reiterated during the preseason interview.
“Coming here, I’m pretty excited,” he says. “Everyone’s been passionate; the support has been phenomenal.”
Part of being a good fit for a co-op is to understand the dynamics behind the partnership of schools. It means being willing to maintain communications between the partner schools and make adjustments when things disrupt the routine. This co-op exists between three high schools, ROWVA, Williamsfield, and Galva.
“The other day the shuttle (transporting players) was late. It got caught at a train stop in Galva,” he said. “We are always transporting equipment back and forth.”
He says you have to be flexible. The schools run on different schedules, so they release students at different times.
Gullstrand comes at a good time. Mid-County has been on an upward track.
The team went 6-4, scoring Lincoln Trail Conference victories against Ridgewood, West Central, United, Mercer County and Stark County. It qualified for the playoffs.
The team has 4 or 5 returning starters on both sides of the ball. Moreover, Gullstrand said additional upperclassmen have joined the team, and “they’ve caught on pretty quickly.”
“This group of kids are hungry,” he said. He said the sophomore class showed development over the summer.
He has 47 on the roster. Having a squad that size means assistants can split the underclassmen off to serve as a scout team during practices.
The offensive line has 215-pound center Dane Libby, a senior guard Mason Hunt and a senior tackle Wyatt Dillon.
The team also picked up a senior transfer student, Matthew Hapton, who played last year at Champaign Central.
At running back, Mid-County has senior Harrison Wight and Denver Weedman.
With more than a week left in the preseason, there is competition for the quarterback spot.