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West Bloomfield begins practice as high school football season resumes amid COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. Whitmer allows high school sports to begin practicing outside

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. – The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is constantly changing, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has permitted high school sports to resume practicing outside.

Monday was the first day of football practice at West Bloomfield High School, and there are a lot of changes from last year.

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The West Bloomfield Lakers are physically back on the field, but practice is far from usual.

“Just little things reminding the kids, make sure they’re practicing social distancing, making sure that, you know, we spray equipment at ease to use it in just -- it’s just different,” West Bloomfield football coach Ron Bellamy said.

Bellamy said the school is following guidelines set by the Michigan High School Athletic Association. The players’ temperatures were taken upon arrival and they filled out questionnaires. They put their belongings down on new blue dots, six feet apart.

Water bottles are assigned to each player, and position groups are kept together and spread out throughout the day.

The weight room is still off limits.

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“We can’t get access to the weight room, so we’ve got to be a little more creative out here,” West Bloomfield strength and conditioning coach Bert Mosley said. “As you can see today, we did a lot of tire flips, pushups, and we had the kids (use) the shoulder presses with the kegs.”

No footballs were thrown or caught Monday, and there was also no tackling. It was purely a workout. Bellamy said it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

“This is the first time we’ve seen them in three and a half months, so just slowly trying to get them acclimated to getting in shape,” Bellamy said.

The players are motivated to follow all the rules because they want to have a football season, Bellamy said.

“Oh yeah, we just want to keep it clean,” star running back Donovan Edwards said. “You want to like everybody. We want to just keep good track of ourselves, so everybody knows (we are) doing everything the right way.”

Right now, competition of any kind is prohibited in the state, even though regions Up North are permitted to practice inside.

Local 4 asked Bellamy about the rash of college football players testing positive for the coronavirus around the country. He said that’s nerve racking to hear and justifies them keeping position groups together.

If a West Bloomfield player tests positive, that position group will isolate, Bellamy said. But it wouldn’t shut down the entire team.

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