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Football among fall high school sports to resume soon after start of new year

Negaunee’s Nash Hillier, center top, leaps over teammate Lukas Nelson (partially hidden on the ground) as he runs the ball in the first quarter of a high school football game played against L’Anse at the Miners’ field in Negaunee on Oct. 2. Defending for the Purple Hornets are Jake Laitala, left, and Malecki Goyen. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

EAST LANSING — The fall season in high school sports will get restarted just after the beginning of the new year, the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced on Friday.

Football playoffs will resume Saturday, Jan. 2. The eight-player championship games will be played Saturday, Jan. 9, followed by the 11-player finals on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 15-16, according to the MHSAA said.

Semifinal games will now be played at home fields rather than neutral sites, the athletic group also stated, while championship game sites are yet to be confirmed.

The only remaining area team left in football, which the 11-player sport will be in its regional finals, is Negaunee, which has been scheduled to play at Grayling for more than a month.

The announcement came after the state health director said football and volleyball players and swimmers will be in a coronavirus antigen-testing program.

Wearing his mask, Negaunee varsity football head coach Paul Jacobson checks the scoreboard late in the second quarter of the Miners' game against Manistique on Sept. 18 in Negaunee. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

No spectators will be allowed at these contests.

Volleyball quarterfinals will be held on Jan. 5, with semifinals and finals on Jan. 7-9. Lower Peninsula girls swimming finals are scheduled for Jan. 15-16.

All indoor winter sports remain suspended until Jan. 16, while skiing can resume Monday.

The MHSAA’s Representative Council is scheduled to meet again Tuesday to discuss more details about winter sports.

The MHSAA also said it expects spring sports — which were canceled altogether this year — to start on time and play complete seasons.

Some information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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