MILWAUKEE — Battling on the gridiron, as society battles during a pandemic. On day one of high school football practice, local schools are preparing to safely execute a full 2020 football season.
They're fueled by the love of the game, the high school football season in Wisconsin is just around the corner, but no matter how much any player or coach loves the game, it all takes a backseat as the pandemic continues.
Day one for practice fell on Labor Day. It was back to work and back to business for high school football players in Southeastern Wisconsin.
At Whitefish Bay, the Blue Dukes are just 11 days away from their season opener.
“To be able to have this opportunity. It’s remarkable.” said Whitefish Bay senior quarterback Jayden Jackson.
Menomonee Falls also began practice Monday. Its season opener comes a week later.
“I can’t stop smiling. It’s the first day of practice and I’m just like, aye let’s go!” said Menomonee Falls senior Quentin Redding.
“Excited” may be an understatement for Redding and his teammates at Menomonee Falls.
“Being able to come out here with my brothers. It’s a great feeling.” Colin Heckman, Menomonee Falls senior.
No matter how good the feeling – the uncertainly of completing the full season looms as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Leaving a responsibility to each program, and coach, to help keep players safe.
“You’re really only going full-live once or twice a week. If you’re lucky. It’s a spread them out. Get through drills if we can. Wear masks if you’re coming into come into close contact.” Jake Wolter, head coach of Whitefish Bay Football.
Both schools, spaced out its players in groups, coach we’ve seen, wore masks. Some players brought their own water to stay hydrated.
Dan Lutz, head coach of Menomonee Fall High School football said each day during the pandemic is a challenege and he’s willing to make any necessary adjustments to keep his players and staff safe.
“With COVID-19, it’s day-to-day. You learn something new everyday,” Lutz, said.
Menomonee Falls is set to kick off its football season on the 25th, one week after Whitefish Bay. Lutz is hoping the season makes it to that day because it will be Senior Night.
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In Kenosha, “It’s another level of chaotic,” said Indian Trail Head Coach Paul Hoffman.
At Kenosha Indian Trail, just today the players tried on masks.
“Just today I busted four. Thank goodness they bought about 300,” Hoffman says.
“It covers the lower half. It’s a little hard to see but we’re just happy to be out here playing football,” Right Guard Riley Kennow says.
Many thought Kenosha Schools would switch from fall to spring sports. Three weeks ago, they had a change of heart.
“When we came in I thought they were going to spring. I’m just so joyful we are here,” Cornerback/Safety/Wide Receiver/Running Back Clayton Bishop says.
“After our speeches we were 50/50, and the vote was 7-0. We’re so grateful to be out here and grateful to play,” Kennow says.
And then the team deals with the unrest in Kenosha.
“The more people you can get talking? And seeing different points of view? It’s definitely better,” Bishop says.
“When you see it on the news, racial injustice, it’s tough,” Kennow says. “We’ve had so many talks. But when you see it in your back yard it’s tough.”
All to give kids a chance, to have some fun.