W. Michigan home-schooled football team will play fall ball

High School Preps

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (AP) — The football season remains alive for a group of home-schooled teenagers in western Michigan.

The Grand Valley Christian Patriots will open the season in Franklin, Ohio, on Aug. 29. The team isn’t part of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, which stopped the fall season last week because of the coronavirus.

“We feel bad for everyone who can’t play this year, but I’m excited for our kids. … We have a solid 12 to 13 seniors this year, and that could be huge,” coach Brian Shafer told MLive.com.

The team has 32 home-schooled players who live in the Grand Rapids region. The Patriots play home games at Grandville Middle School.

The seven-game schedule has opponents from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Washtenaw County.

Shafer said the Patriots are following health guidelines posted earlier in summer by the MHSAA.

“We are taking temperatures as they come in and going through the whole health screening. Opposing schools will go through the health checks before they even leave to come,” the coach said.

Shafer said parents called to ask if their sons in public schools could play for the Patriots.

“We have told them all no,” he said. “We are going to run with who decided to run with us. We don’t want to become the West Michigan All-Star team.”

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