For the past six years, the Morris Quarterback Booster Club has been helping the Redskins prepare for the season. While the boys have been doing the heavy lifting to this point, Kim Bordner and her organization put on their annual kickoff picnic for the players and fans on Sunday.
“Our QB club is a great organization. I can’t even begin to tell you how much they do for the program,” Morris football coach Alan Thorson said. “From buying jerseys to providing food after games to charter buses and providing scholarships at the end of the year for seniors. This is their big fundraiser.
“We don’t like to have our kids fundraise a lot, though, they did have to sell two tickets for this. But it’s all for a good cause and it goes right back into the program. It’s a fun day overall. The kids get the chance to relax after all the hard work, to hang out and throw bags and things like that. It’s nice to have a fun day together as a team.”
This was the sixth year of the event, which started back when current Morris athletic director George Dergo was still the head coach.
“Four years ago, there was only 100 people here,” Bordner, the QB Club president, said. “The second one, there was only between 100 to 150 people here. Last year I think we counted 360 and we’re expecting that many again.”
The Redskins had their annual Maroon and White scrimmage Friday under the lights. Then Sunday, the kickoff picnic, held every year at the Morris Moose Lodge.
“This weekend is set up as the end to the preseason and to get you ready for the opening week,” Thorson said. “We had a great Maroon and White Night and a lot of people were there watching us and the kids played well.
“Then you follow it up with a fun event like this where everybody gets to relax. It’s really nice to because, not only do you have players and parents here, you also have a lot of fans here who want to show up and support the team. Everybody knows that Monday is the start of game week.”
Morris senior captain Josh Garrett said the picnic is a rite of passage of sorts.
“It’s a celebration of our season and the chance to relax before the season,” he said.
Garrett said he has been at four kickoff classic picnics and he has noticed how much the event has grown.
“It’s a reality check and everything. It’s like here it is, my last season. I know I won’t have another chance here after this,” he said. “This is my fourth one and it has grown. The first one I went to was small but now there are a bunch of people here. It shows they love the Morris Redskins and they want to support the team along the way.”
Bordner said through the fundraiser, which includes a draw-down board and other raffle items, the club usually makes between $6,000 to 7,000 each season, which goes right to the football team.
“We’ve already purchased $3,000 worth of weights for the program again this year,” she said. “We also bought a new stencil for the football field. It’s the stencil they use to paint the Indian head on the field. The Indian head has been missing for the past few years.”
In addition, the club provides a charter bus and food for the team and other necessary items.
“Our plan this year, for the four away games is to send the team in a coach bus, the only game where we won’t is the game at Yorkville,” Bordner said. “But the other three far away games we will. We do also give two $500 scholarships each year to a senior who is going to continue their education somewhere.
“Actually, we have been warned that this year the team jerseys are going to be discontinued, so we will be helping this year with the purchase of new jerseys next year.”
All and all, the picnic is a win-win for the kids in the program.
“As much money as we raise it all goes right back to the kids,” Thorson said. “From our standpoint, it’s a nice relaxing day for us to just have fun.”