Goodrich High School football team adjusts to face mask requirement

Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 12:47 PM EDT
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GOODRICH, Mich. (WJRT) - High school football players have to wear masks or face coverings this fall, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The requirement presents a new set of challenges for high school coaches and players as they prepare for the season ahead. The first practices wearing pads for the season were allowed Thursday and the first games of 2020 are scheduled for next week.

“I imagine we’re going to have a pretty good practice. So, the enthusiasm is pretty high," said Goodrich Head Football Coach Tom Alward. "We’re planning on having a inter-squad scrimmage tomorrow. But, they’ll get after it today and we’ll get to play some real football.”

With the official start of the season a week away, coaches are trying to squeeze in as much practice time as they can before kickoffs.

“We’re going to practice every day up until the game, including Saturday and Sunday, trying to get ready to play Corunna,” Alward said.

That task has a new challenge with the mask requirement. Football teams around Mid-Michigan are starting to order spit shields, which are more comfortable for athletes and comply with Whitmer’s order.

“They’re actually a real mask that attaches to the inside of each kids' face mask and they cover the mouth and the nose area and they’re not flush up against it," Alward said.

Even with the new face coverings, there are still hurdles to get over like players' communication with each other and running with the mask. That makes this week critical for coaches and players to workout the problems before game time.

“Those will be an upgrade and I know our kids are going to like those better for Thursday and the game," Alward said. "If we can get them for the game, I’ll be happy and of course we’ll have them the rest of the year.”

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