Return of football provides normalcy for Luverne Cardinals

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LUVERNE, Minn. (KELO) — The Minnesota State High School League voted to reverse course Monday, moving football from spring, 2021 back to the fall. The decision was a welcome one for the Luverne Cardinals, bringing a bit of normalcy back into their lives.

For the past month, Luverne football players could only watch as high school teams across the border in both Iowa and South Dakota were allowed to play.

“Having fun, Friday nights, playing with their boys. Even their crowds, their stands are full. Student sections are packed. It’s just, I really wish we could have that, but this is better than nothing,” Luverne Senior Bailey Cowell said.

When word of Monday’s decision reached the Cardinals, elation ensued.

“Like in the weight room right after, it was a different vibe. It was a lot better,” Cowell said.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, these athletes finally got some clarity.

“We’ve had a lot of confusion lately, and not knowing what’s going to happen, and it’s just nice to have a season right in front of you instead of what’s four months ahead,” Luverne Senior Cade Wenninger said.

Official practices will begin on Monday, with the first games set for October 9th.

“I think it’s a little bit of back to normal for them. At least they’re in a routine. Playing football right now in September, we’re not going to have games yet, but at least we’re practicing, and out doing what they want to do,” Luverne Head Coach Todd Oye said.

There’s still plenty of work to do before that first game.

“In Minnesota, we have a number that they look at and a ratio for the population in the county. If that number gets too high, and we’re are mandatory distance learning, then we can’t practice and we can’t play,” Oye said.

But the Cardinals are looking forward to playing back under the Friday night lights.

“Hopefully we’re still allowed and we’re healthy when we get there and we can play and enjoy the camaraderie of the team, and just the game, and being together,” Oye said.

Teams will play six regular season games, followed by a two-week postseason, with a format to be determined. Volleyball also moved back to fall, and will play 14 matches over eleven weeks.

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