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High school football teams learn to adjust quickly amid COVID-19 cases

Jessica Miles
Updated: October 22, 2020 10:05 PM
Created: October 22, 2020 07:39 PM

It's been an unprecedented season for many high school football teams around the state. 

Brainerd played its first game last week after the school was forced into distance learning due to COVID-19 cases, and Edina will play Bemidji instead of St. Michael-Albertville for its homecoming game due to COVID-19 cancellations.

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The Roseville High School football players are coming up on the first game of their 2020 season, now three weeks into their schedule.

A COVID-19 positive test on their team forced them into quarantine for 14 days.

"We’re all just trying to be as flexible as we can, we know full well if we have a game on Friday night, Thursday at 5 o’clock our opponent might change or 10 o’clock on Friday morning it might change," Roseville Area High School Activities Director Reed Hornung said.

Coaches are still preparing for games, just doing it virtually with their student-athletes. 

"We still have film sessions online, our coaches have zoom meetings with their kids, we still have team meetings, they have position group meetings and they’re able to watch film with the kids on Zoom," Hornung said.

But the lack of in-person football has certainly been unusual.

"Not being able to go to practice with your friends is hard," senior Chase Smith said.

Smith is a senior captain, along with Anthony Vo, and both say this pandemic has taught them some things.

"Cherish the moment you have as an athlete in high school, that’s probably the main one," Vo said.

Roseville plans to take the field Saturday afternoon against Blaine for its first game this fall, barring any last-minute changes.

"I know getting two days of practice is really different and Blaine probably isn’t thinking we will be all that ready, but we will be ready," Smith said.

Hornung said players and coaches are screened before stepping foot into any practice. That's the same with volleyball, the other fall sport initially slated for spring 2021 but reinstated by the Minnesota State High School League.

However, some activities directors around the state go back and forth on whether the football season should have been reinstated this fall as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

"You try to have a lot of grace in these situations because nobody’s gone through this before," Hornung said.

"We wish we could’ve started the season when it was supposed to be started. It would’ve been nice, and as you look at it now we would’ve been wrapping up the season and heading into playoffs, just as cases continue to go up," he added. "We’re really just starting our season or halfway through it right now, so that’s been a little frustrating, but I understand their (MSHSL) decisions that need to be made."


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