SPRINGFIELD, Mo — The helmets and shorts have returned across Missouri.

“It’s crazy. Everything went by real fast. It’s crazy to think that I actually am a senior, but I feel like it’s going to be pretty good this year.”

Following a dead period that lasted a week, all fall sports opened practices on Monday. Including football.

“It was good. We had a week off so we got to relax a little bit and all of our bodies feel really good now. So we are flying around and playing good football.”

Over at Kickapoo High School the Chiefs are looking to build of progress made last season.

And they have a solid foundational piece on the edge.

“He’s pretty good. He demands a lot of attention. We went to Liberty North at the end of camp in July and he stood out up there. The coaches commented on him.”

Andrew Link is entering his senior season at Kickapoo.

“He’s a really good football player and he is an even better person, which is the great part about it. He’s a joy to coach, he’s a 4.0 student and he’s one of our valedictorians.”

“I’ve taken my academics really seriously. Keeping that has been tough, but it’s definitely worth it.”

His HUDL bio, has Link listed at 6-4 and 235, with 285 on the bench and a 4-9 40 time.

“You just track the back shoulder and hopefully sack the quarterback because you don’t want him to get outside of you or get upfield.”

“When we are down the field just like this and you turn and see Andrew hunting them down it’s like, yeah we are good.”

He’s commited to Missouri State to continue his football career.

“It was good to get that over with so now I can just go out there and play and not worry about how I play, just go out and have fun with my teammates.”

Link and the Chiefs open the season against Hillcrest on the 26th.

They will do so, on the comfort of some new digs.

“It’s going to be real good. Playing on this, it ain’t the best but it’ll do, but playing on this and then going to the softness of the turf it’ll feel way better.”

“It’ll be great. The turf we had wasn’t that good. Getting that turf, especially for our last year, will be really special.”