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Players and coaches relieved Michigan high school football season is back on

The Michigan high school football season will be played, despite COVID-19 concerns.
The Michigan high school football season will be played, despite COVID-19 concerns.(AP Images)
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 3:02 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) -

The Michigan high school football season is back on. The decision coming late Thursday afternoon, with practices set to begin this upcoming Tuesday. Players and coaches are obviously relieved.

Students were just getting done with school for the day on Thursday when they heard the news about football.

“My mom messaged me saying yay football is back, and so then I messaged our varsity football group chat to tell them. we were all just super excited, and everyone was like you better not be lying, and I’m like no, go look at the article, TV6 posted it,” said Gwinn Modeltowners quarterback James Harnick.

For the Gwinn Modeltowners, the return of football offers the community more than just entertainment on Friday nights.

“A big weight was lifted, knowing that now, we have the opportunity to get closure on everything that’s happened,” said Modeltowners head coach Ben Olsen.

The team will be playing this season for former head coach Dion Brown, who died unexpectedly this past winter. With uncertainties still surrounding fall sports and whether the seasons may be finished, Gwinn plans to live by an old high school football adage, ‘play every game like it’s your last.’

“I think it hits home more now than maybe it ever has and going forward, I think it’s going to give a little bit of renewed respect to football and other sports, because at any moment, it could be taken away,” said Olsen.

For the Negaunee Miners meanwhile, the goal is to get back to another state championship. Their season ended, they feel, prematurely last year with a loss to Calumet in the first round of the playoffs.

“We weren’t happy with the result or how we played, and we feel like we have redemption now,” said Preston Toutant, a Miners lineman.

For the Miners, being able to hit the field after a busy offseason is a reward.

“We’ve been in the gym so many times just for the season to be postponed, and that hit hard,” said Toutant. “But then it came back and it feels great, like no other feeling.”

After six months of ups and downs, Miners head coach Paul Jacobson is looking forward to just one thing.

“Playing football on a Friday night, that’s easy,” said Jacobson. “With all the changes that we’ve had, maybe going to the spring, and all the uncertainties, what we do this for is the Friday night lights and we’re jacked to have that opportunity again.”

The football season kicks off Friday, September 18.

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