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Northland coaches react to MSHL movement of the football season

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DULUTH, MN. -- COVID-19 has forced us to adjust to all sorts of news. Discovering 'Zoom', sports without fans, and now Friday night lights in Minnesota being moved to the spring season.

"The good news today, the best news today was that no sports were canceled," said John Millea, MSHSL media specialist.

To avoid stopping and starting the Minnesota high school football season, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHL) announced Tuesday that football will be moving to the spring season.

"Moving those two sports to the March, April, May time frame made it more likely that they can go ahead and have their seasons", said Millea.

While coaches across the Northland are still hopeful they will be getting a spring season, other coaches were caught off guard by the decision made Tuesday by the MSHSL.

"There's light at the end of the tunnel which is more than what we can say for a lot of student-athletes last spring," said Greg Spahn, Grand Rapids head football coach.

"I was shocked to see that we were going to move it back into the spring," said Mike Zagelmeyer, Hermantown's head football coach.

Schedules will be adjusted as the new “fourth season” will take place from mid-March to mid-May. Other changes to the schedule include no scrimmages, a 20% reduction in weeks, and a 30% reduction in games.

"You have to make the best of a bad situation. You got to look at the positives, you have to push that, and it's not over yet, we still have a chance to play so the kids can stay positive," said Zagelmeyer.

Football teams will still be able to practice in some capacity, something that coaches say will go a long way.

"The more that we can put in and the more repetitions we can get the better. It's just like shooting baskets in basketball, the more reps you get the better off you are going to be," said Zagelmeyer.

For Grand Rapids and Hermantown who hoped to kick-off the season on their brand new turf fields, they are still holding out hope.

"We've waited this long, couple more months, isn't that bad. We are at a good spot to be able to use that in spring and to be honest, if we were playing in the spring and didn't have turf, I'd be a lot more worried," said Spahn.

A lot of questions remain, however. What will practice look like for football teams, will there be a postseason tournament, and if fans will be allowed to attend come kick-off in the spring.

All of which we do not have a definite answer yet.

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Ryan Compeau

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