LET US PLAY!! Broncos, Jets Rally To Save Season
LANSING---On the court, and on the field, the Bark River-Harris Broncos and North Central Jets are rivals. At times, the rivalry between the two schools located six miles apart could be described as "bitter".
But on Friday, football players from both schools were on the same team.
Members of the Bark River-Harris and North Central High School football teams made the long trip to Lansing on to take part in a rally with hundreds of their downstate peers on the steps of the state capitol.
The "Let Them Play" rally was organized by a parent from downstate Milan after the Michigan High School Athletic Association decided to move the football season to next spring because of the coronavirus.
The Faceoook page that promoted the rally has more than 17,000 members, and on Friday, the NCA and BR-H boys were a part of the last ditch effort to take the field this fall.
"Basically, we just wanted to show that we're getting to the point in our lives where it's not just about the game itself," Broncos senior quarterback Nick Javurek said. "It's about learning the life lessons along with it. Taking the sport away from us at this point, especially in our last year of high school? We just want to ensure that we either have a spring season, or give us our fall season back."
"I thought it was important to go," North Central senior Carter Eichmeier said. "This is my last year and it's literally the only sport that I ever really went in depth with. Me and my teammates put in hours and hours and hours of off-season work, whether that be speed and agility, to lifting every week. We put in countless hours of effort, and to just be shut down, it's really sucke because we put in a whole lot of effort for nothing."
"We came down here because we wanted to voice our opinion," BR-H senior Dylon Lippens said. "We don't feel that it's right that we don't get to play this fall."
"We honestly felt like we were obliged, we felt like we had to, for all the seniors on the team," NCA sophomore quarterback Luke Gorzinski said. "We just know how much we have to offer, especially, one of my best friends out here, he's a senior. and he's been working his butt off, this entire off-season, this entire quarantine. That's all he had to look forward to was football."
The MHSAA says it made its decision after consulting with the office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, after Whitmer had first called on the MHSAA to move "high risk" sports like football to the spring. In recent interviews, the governor praised the MHSAA's "leadership", although she never publically stated that she would act to prevent a fall football season from happening
The fact that the MHSAA pulled the plug after the teams had gone through nearly a full week of practices also made it hard for boys across Michigan to take.
"We had been practicing for a week already and nobody had any symptoms and we hjad already been around everybody," Lippens said. "Nobody had any symptoms or anything like that. So I think that taking it away after we had been practicing for a week is kind of not right, in my opinion."
Click the thumbnails in the ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS box above to see photos taken by Ally Richer and Randall McLeod, and listen to interviews with all four boys.