By David Fleet
Brandon Blackhawk head football coach Brad Zube’s reaction to the start of the 2020 season was simple.
“It’s time to get back to work,” he said.
Zube response followed a Sept. 3, announcement from the Michigan High School Athletic Association to reinstate football for this fall – about three weeks after postponing the season until the spring due to coronavirus concerns. The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association statement came after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 176 lifted restrictions that previously did not allow the sport to be played.
“Let’s hit the restart button,” he said. “We’ve got 10 days to get ready for Owosso. We are going to play six league games this fall. It’s going to be a sprint. All division teams are on the schedule.”
The shut down will not change the season for the Blackhawks, he said.
“We will plan prepare every week to win every game,” he said. “Our approach right now is just to go. We are not behind, rather everyone is in the same situation. We got stopped on the same time and going at the same time. We are thankful we have a veteran team.”
After two days of helmet-only practices, players can so pads for the first time this year.
“It’s a big concern we don’t have any film (to watch) of other teams,” he said. “We have to go over last years.”
Whitmer’s executive order also allows for an immediate start of competition boys soccer; Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving and girls volleyball on Wednesday (Sept. 9) for schools located in Regions 1-5 and 7 based on the MI Safe Start Plan. It also sets spectator limits of two per participant for outdoor and indoor events in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan.
“It was pure joy,” said Brandon Varsity Junior Micah Miller. “I saw the Tweet that we were going to play and I just jumped out of bed, and started Face-timing all my teammates, talking about what the season was going to be like.”
Each sport has been given a checklist of safety precautions to follow, including questionnaires, screenings, temperature checks as well as masking and social distancing protocols. With the continued possibility of positive COVID tests sidelining entire teams, coaches are emphasizing the importance of following every guideline.
As of today, those 16 practices turn back into a daily routine as teams get back on the gridiron.
Then the work begins for Week 1 of the 2020 season, set for Sept. 18. Each team plays a six-week regular season and is guaranteed at least one playoff game.
Goodrich Head Coach Tom Alward was ready to get back to work.
“Right now we are focused on Corunna at home next Friday,” said Alward. “We are hitting this head on and making sure we are in compliance. My concern is with the young players and the lack of varsity competition. They have been without a scrimmage—it’s just a different season.”