Football postponed after first week, moves to the spring

Chris Dobrowolski

REGION — Dan Derrer and the rest of the Mancelona coaching staff was getting ready for Friday’s football practice when Mancelona athletic director Ben Tarbutton delivered the bad news — the fall football season was being postponed until the spring less than a week into the official start of practice for the 2020 season.

“We just waited for the kids to show up so we could tell them as they got there,” said Derrer. “Some of them kind of knew because they heard on the way there. They were disappointed. Ever since the summer where we got the OK to do the conditioning and all that, we’ve had a great turnout. Over 20 kids showing up three days a week. We were working them hard and they were doing a great job. It was just going awesome. It’s a great group of kids who were busting their butts.”

The Michigan High School Athletic Association was the first to make the announcement that football, deemed a high-risk sport, would be halted before teams began transitioning from a week with just helmets and shorts to donning full pads for the first time this week. That release came late on Friday, with some teams already done for the week and looking ahead to next week’s pad-laden practices. Others, were on the verge of the final day of what had been an exuberant first few days.

“I was surprised at the timing,” said Bellaire football coach Tom Baeckeroot. “I wasn’t completely surprised that they were going to do that. Obviously, I was hoping that wasn’t going to happen. I thought things were going fine, but they have to do what they feel is right.”

Baeckeroot felt the first few practices of the year were chock-full of energy, with players getting their first opportunities to train and compete since the coronavirus pandemic began to surge through the country late last winter.

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