ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Rockford High School’s football team was in the middle of afternoon practice when the Michigan High School Athletic Association made the announcement.
Friday, Head Coach Brent Cummings had to break the news to the team that there will be no high school football this fall due to the pandemic.
“Postponement, but we still get to come to the party,” Cummings said to his players during his last pep talk of the season.
The coaches and players took comfort in the fact they all got the news together.
“We could’ve had a morning practice, (and the) kids would’ve been at home and heard this news on their own,” Cummings said. “We’re very thankful to have had the opportunity to hear it together and be able to talk about it.”
Team quarterback Chris Corey was one of the many high school seniors especially devastated by the decision.
“Sadness, just (with) everything going on in the world right now, football gave everyone something to think about, something to work for,” Corey said.
A sense of sadness that will be shared by the entire community.
Rockford’s Athletic Director Cole Andrews gets emotional at just the thought of an empty stadium Friday nights this fall.
“It’s hard to even put into words,” Andrews said. “(I’m) just trying to hold my emotions in to even think about that because it’s just so special to see our kids and see the emotion in their eyes and our coaches who put so much time in.”
But the team won’t let this setback keep them down for long.
“I truly believe there is going to be a spring season and that’s where we shift our mindset to,” Cummings said.
While walking off the field for the last time this season, many of the players were already brainstorming ways to tackle their newfound free time.
“We’ve had a lot of football players talking about maybe we’ll try something else. Maybe another sport in the fall, so that’ll be really interesting to see,” Andrews said.