HISTORY OF NUICFOOTBALL.COM:
Kyle decided to make overall season predictions for all of the teams within the NUIC conference - just for fun. That first year, he simply wrote his projections on a chalkboard and posted it to Facebook along with sporadic updates for those that may be interested. The predictions didn't stop at the regular season, but continued throughout the playoffs.
After receiving many requests, Kyle once again made his chalkboard predictions. With the addition of Shane's knowledge and passion, the facebook postings became much more frequent and focused. All during the season, the duo received requests to start a website and share their thoughts on football in the NUIC conference.
The website was established as well as the NUICFF social media pages and YouTube channel. The NUICFF crew was also granted sideline access by the hosting schools to bring accurate statistics and game photography to the viewers. We had the opportunity to travel to Champaign, IL and cover an NUIC state champion in our 1st year of NUICFF, the Forreston Cardinals, and look forward to continuing our efforts of showcasing our great conference state wide.
We looked to grow and expand the area coverage - and we did just that! We almost doubled our following in our 2nd year - which assisted us to better showcase the fantastic athletes, coaching staffs, and football our great conference has to offer. The IHSA again allowed us sideline and press box access to cover our 2nd straight NUIC State Championship team, the Le-Win Panthers, in DeKalb, IL.
The 2018 offseason kept the staff busy keeping up with the coaching carousel and increased conversations of 8-man football that will change the landscape of the NUIC in 2019. This year also allowed us to dabble in journalism, as we wrote a weekly column published in two local papers. For our 3rd straight year, we were able to provide coverage of yet another NUIC state champion, the Forreston Cardinals, as we covered the first ever conference 3-peat in NUIC history!
In 2019, we saw the first exit of schools heading to 8-man football, and another left for a co-op in 2019. We also learned that the IHSA had plans for a district format that would start in 2021, but it was voted down after a re-vote. The teams in our conference were not the only ones making changes. One of our co-founders, Shane, stepped away, but Kyle pulled Kari from behind the camera to keep the show on the road. We also enlisted several additional journalists to help out with coverage. We were able to cover our 4th consecutive NUIC State Championship team, with Le-Win bringing the title back from DeKalb once again.
The 2020 season took an unexpected turn as COVID-19 spread across the country leaving everyone in a generational pause. With states being allowed to govern in their best interest for safety, Illinois determined it would be best to use tiers and phases to reduce the risk. With this decision, sports were shut down at the school level and moved to the spring of 2021. Games were played between March and April with no playoff tournament. Aquin and Le-Win finished in a tie in the AP Poll, while Aquin finished #1 in the Coaches Poll, declaring the NUIC with the #1 team for the 5th consecutive season.
We saw another fallout of football schools moving to 8-man, as the NUIC shifted from 2 divisions back to 1 conference with 10 teams in it, however West Carroll did not play a varsity schedule due to low numbers. This shift also saw the Fulton Steamers join the NUIC in the 2021 season. The I8FA featured 7 NUIC teams in a North and South split of the league. For the 1st time in NUIC history we crowned our first back to back champion, as Le-Win captured their 5th title in 11 seasons. This made 5 consecutive state championships for the NUIC. We covered our first I8FA state championship game that featured conference foes, Polo and Orangeville. Polo captured their 2nd straight I8FA state title in the 3rd full season of 8-man play.
The 2022 season will kick off with NUIC teams defending both Class 1A and 8-man titles for another season. East Dubuque has vacated the conference for football, forming a co-op with Southwestern in Hazel Green, WI. West Carroll will be back in action this season after a year hiatus from varsity action. In February, the IHSA announced the approval to return the playoff format to a 1-32 seeding for all classes, but then cited economic concerns were a factor in the June decision to return to a 1-16 seeding in a North/South split. For the 1st time in NUIC history we crowned our first 3-peat state champion as Lena-Winslow once again brought home the title. We also learned that this was the last time the University of Illinois would host the IHSA state championship game, as it will return to Illinois State University in 2023. The 8-man state championship game featured an NUIC team for the 3rd straight year as Amboy brought home a runner-up finish.
We learned that the IHSA state championship game will return to Illinois State University in 2023. The last time ISU hosted the state championship weekend was during the 1998 campaign. The Aquin Bulldogs have dropped football for the 2023 season due to low numbers. It has been 30 years since Aquin sat out the 1993 season.