‘Football fever’ hits Pekin ahead of home quarterfinal game

Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 5:50 PM CST
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PEKIN (25 News Now) - City pride is high ahead of a massive football game this weekend at Pekin’s Memorial Stadium.

The Pekin Dragons are 11-0 for the first time in school history under head coach Doug Nutter. They take on the Lake Zurich Bears this Saturday. Ahead of the game, downtown Pekin is decked out with signage supporting the team.

At Colonial Barbershop, owner John Barger says the team is the talk of the town. When customers come in, many want to talk not about the NFL or the NBA, but about the hometown Dragons.

”Everybody who comes in here, we talk about football,” Barger said. “The teamwork that goes on with the Dragons is just terrific.”

Barger has lived in Pekin for more than 50 years and plans to get to the game early this year. Barger says he’s proud that some of the players get their hair cut at Colonial Barbershop. His grandson Jake Gill is a barber at the same shop and says he will be there too, along with his own son.

“This is the town talk. Everyone is talking about the Dragons,” Gill said.

On Court Street, businesses are proudly displaying signs in support of the team. Rick Yerly of ‘Touch of Glass’ says the team has made the city proud, no matter where they go from here.

”Win, lose or draw, they’ve given us a great season, and we look for them to go all the way,” Yerly said.

Pekin plays in the Quarterfinals of the IHSA 7A Playoffs at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium. For more coverage on the team, click here.