ILION – Fall II football scheduling has brought the Central Valley Academy Thunder back closer to home for the season brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As the only Class B football program in Herkimer County, the Thunder normally competes in Class B East with schools like New Hartford, Oneida, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, Chittenango, Cazenovia, Camden and Mexico Academy in an eight-team alignment that leaves no room for regular season games outside league play.

County-based travel restrictions brings the merged former Ilion and Mohawk districts’ football teams back home for a season.

“All the matchups will be fun,” coach Jon Cole said. “We don’t play any of these teams on a normal basis.”

Central Valley Academy is one of three schools that squeezed five games into the tight schedule. Mt. Markham defeated the Thunder on opening night April 16 and Central Valley Academy plays at Little Falls on Friday night. The Thunder will play second games against both of those teams but do not play Dolgeville, Frankfort-Schuyler or West Canada Valley, three much smaller Class D programs.