Bears get a taste of the ‘Friday Night Lights’ on Thursday

The Bears take the field for a practice at Mt. Prospect High School on August 17th.

MOUNT PROSPECT  – Almost everyone who is wearing pads or a whistle on the field on Thursday night in the Northwest Suburbs had a feeling of nostalgia.

The stands that go about 15 rows high and around 60 yards across the field. The half-dozen light poles aiding to illuminate the field along with the setting sun bring back memories of the start of many football careers.

“It was really fun, because my high school is about half the size of the visitor’s side,” said Bears receiver Cameron Meredith, who played his high school football at St. Joseph’s in Westchester.

On Thursday, he along with the rest of his teammates were at Mt. Prospect High School with two sides of full stands for the team’s final open practice of training camp. It’s a new quirk added to the routine of camp by Fox last year, when the team ventured to Warren High School for one of their preseason workouts.

This time they brought it to the home of the Knights of the Mid-Suburban League, hitting the field one last time before their second preseason game against the Cardinals on Saturday in Glendale.

“Kudos to all our fans, they’re great,” said Fox of the turnout at Prospect High School. “They want a winner bad and we’re gonna try to do everything we can to give them one. So we’re really pleased with the turnout.”

The two-hour workout was not much different from the ones that the Bears had during their nearly three-week training camp at Olivet Nazarene University or the ones they’ll have from now on at Halas Hall. But the chance to break out the monotony of camp with a trip back to high school was much appreciated.

“It’s like ‘Friday Night Lights’ all over again,” said Meredith. “We had a good time, it was a fast-paced practice. Came out here, got to fly around a little bit in front of the fans so it was fun.”

Kyle Long was back on the field to watch the workouts after missing Wednesday’s session in Lake Forest for a doctor’s appointment on his ankle. Defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (concussion) defensive back Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and Bryce Callahan (Ankle) were the others held out of the unique workout.

But for those who got to play, Fox believes the chance to get under the lights like the past helped the team prepare well as professionals.

“Like in Bourbonnais, when the fans are there it gets their juices flowing,” said Fox on Thursday’s practice. “It was good here tonight because we were able to have loud music. We are going on the road for the first time in the 2017 season so it was good for our offense and particularly our quarterbacks.”

Plus who doesn’t like to take a step back to where it all began once in a while.