GODFREY — Prep football is back.
Monday marked the beginning of high school football practices for the upcoming fall season. Throughout the area local players took to the gridiron in helmets only to run through drills and workouts to start getting ready for the 2016 season, which is scheduled to start on Aug. 28.
The Alton Redbirds, under the direction of new head coach Eric Dickerson, were on the practice field at AHS Monday.
Dickerson is one of three new head coaches for the five Greater Alton area schools. East Alton-Wood River welcomes Garry Herron as its new football coach, while Darrell Angleton takes over for Matt Bucher at Marquette Catholic.
Dickerson and Angleton return to their respective programs after being assistant coaches a year ago. Herron returns to his alma mater to coach after being an assistant for the Roxana Shells last season, helping guide them to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. The Shells also won their opening-round playoff game in 2015.
Roxana will welcome South Central Conference rival Carlinville to Charlie Raich Field at 7 p.m. on Aug. 28.
All the other local programs begin with non-conference contests. Alton plays host to Rock Island at 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 at Public School Stadium, while the Oilers hit the road, traveling to Columbia at 7 p.m. opening night. The other two Greater Alton area schools — Civic Memorial and Marquette — battle under the lights at Public School Stadium in Alton in a much anticipated showdown at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29.
The Shells were the only Greater Alton area school to reach the playoffs a year ago. As the slates are wiped clean and players start fresh, the Oilers, Redbirds, Eagles, Explorers and Shells all look to build successful campaigns on the gridiron in '16.