HOWELL — In the end, after a roller-coaster spring and summer time, soccer is right here.
For first-year Howell coach Brian Lewis, it’s an opportunity to see what he’s acquired within the Highlanders as they tackle his outdated staff, the Plymouth Wildcats, within the season opener at 7 p.m. Friday.
“I’m so excited for our youngsters,” he mentioned Thursday. “Our youngsters have simply been working so arduous for 3, three half months right here. For them to have the ability to exit on the sector and play in entrance of their dad and mom, play in entrance of individuals in the neighborhood, could be very thrilling. They deserve it with all of the arduous work they put in.”
However their viewers can be restricted by the coronavirus. Solely two followers per participant can be allowed in, together with gamers, cheerleaders and coaches. Nobody can be allowed on the hill reverse the press field outdoors John Dukes Discipline.
The game will be broadcast on The Livingston Post, starting at 6:50, and it additionally can be dwell streamed on the National Federation of High Schools website, which requires a subscription.
Regardless of the circumstances dictated by the virus, senior deal with Grant Porter is amongst these raring to go.
“I’m glad to get out right here,” he mentioned Thursday. “It’s a miracle to be out right here. Simply going via what we needed to undergo to get out right here, the chance to even play is nice.”
And, on a philosophical notice, Porter discovered a constructive in a destructive, that being a crowd a lot smaller than the 1000’s who usually pack the Howell stands on sport night time.
“You play Howell, and it will get loopy right here,” he mentioned. “I imply, we now have the most effective pupil part within the state. However will probably be like going again to junior soccer for lots of us, simply having our dad and mom round. I believe there’s going to be much more deal with the sport and so much much less distraction from the followers.”
As for the Wildcats, whom Lewis led to the KLAA West Division title final season, there can be a variety of familiarity.
“I do know they’re going to be a aggressive group,” he mentioned. “I do know that, as a result of I do know these children. I understand how they compete, so I do know they’ll be able to rock and roll tomorrow.
“It’s not precisely the way you draw it up,” he mentioned, referring to assembly Plymouth within the opener in what was initially the fourth sport of the season. “Recreation four, it was going to be an emotional sport and a problem and all that stuff. It’s not precisely how i drew factor up, however that’s life, proper? Since March, it hasn’t been what anybody has drawn up.”
Lewis changed Aaron Metz, whose contract was not renewed after final season.
“I dwell in Pinckney, which is so much nearer (to Howell) than Plymouth, and Howell is a one-school, one city group,” he mentioned. That’s in distinction to Plymouth Excessive, which is on the identical campus as Canton and Salem excessive colleges. “This has been a extremely enjoyable group to be part of. They’ve actually embraced change ere and everyone on this group loves soccer. They’re all pushing in the identical route, and that’s actually vital. That was intriguing.”
As for the aggressive juices flowing at sport time, Lewis mentioned, “the juices are already flowing. They don’t anticipate 7 o’clock. I believe that, for coaches, you get to 7 o’clock and issues settle down as a result of you may simply go play. So the juices have been flowing since June. We’re excited in regards to the alternative.”
Those that are in a position to attend the sport will notice some modifications at John Dukes Discipline. New lighting has been put in, in addition to a brand new observe and fencing across the stands. The car parking zone has been repaved as effectively.
Whereas Howell is on the sector, Brighton just isn’t.
The Bulldogs’ opener with Novi was cancelled as a consequence of a Covid-19 outbreak at Novi Excessive Faculty.
Oakland County well being officers closed the highschool for Thursday and Friday and cancelled practices and video games via Monday,
“You simply by no means know,” Lewis mentioned. “Each day is a blessing to be out right here with these children and these *(coaches). It’s been actually good to get out right here. Get us to tomorrow, get us to 7:00, and we’ll be comfortable campers.