The Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood football program still hopes to play the four regular-season games required to make the state playoffs.
But the margin for error to accomplish that is all but gone after the Cranes were forced to cancel their first two games of the
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In a letter to Cranbrook families on Monday, Superintendent Aimeclaire Roche gave the OK for volleyball, field hockey and soccer to resume competition, but indicated that she will “revisit football in two weeks’ time,” which could possibly jeopardize a postseason berth.
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The MHSAA, which expanded its playoff field to all schools this fall because of the shortened six-game regular-season schedule, requires four of the six games to be played in order to qualify during the seventh week.
“We as a school have been cautious,” said Cranbrook athletic director and interim football coach Stephen Graf. “Our No. 1
goal was to start school healthy, and No. 2 was able to start school face-to-face. A tremendous amount of time, energy and resources went into that happening. Frankly, it’s taken until this week before our mid-risk contact sports to compete. With football being high risk, we’ve been a little slower in making that decision.”
The Michigan High School Athletic Association rebooted its season following Executive Order 180 by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Sept. 3. Practice began Sept. 8 and teams throughout the state returned to competition last weekend.
Cranbrook had internally made the decision to forfeit its first two games of the season against Dearborn Divine Child (Sept. 19) and University of Detroit Jesuit (Sept. 26). The Cranes hope to relaunch their season Oct. 2 at home against Detroit Loyola.
Several Detroit-area schools were not given clearance by their own school districts to play their
season openers, including Novi, Utica and Redford Union to name a few.
“We’re hoping that the data and the health of our school as we go through this week will allow us to be able to play against Loyola the following week,” Graf said. “We’ve been going day-to-day in terms of what’s happening. We’ve seen schools all around us suddenly go virtual (learning) and cancel games because of X, Y and Z. We just want to make sure that it’s safe, that our kids are safe, our coaches are safe, faculty is safe. And that’s really been our goal. And our goal as coaches are to prepare for that next game, whatever that next game is.”
Cranbrook is a school of more than 800 students, according to Graf, who said less than 10% of the student body is virtual (learning). The Bloomfield Hills campus has boarding students from around the world. Some of those students haven’t been able to get back in school because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Cranbrook football, it has been an emotional rollercoaster following the
the death of head coach Ben Jones, who died after being rear-ended
Aug. 24 in Pleasant Ridge.
[ Cranbrook Kingswood coach’s death sends shockwave: ‘It’s just devastating’ ]
Bryce Hall, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound pound standout defensive end, was asked if it would be a lost season if the team couldn’t get in the required four games to make the playoffs. “Then we’ll play three games,” he said, “it doesn’t matter.”
“Every time we come out here and pick up our helmets and jerseys, we come out here to work, so we’re not going to let the fact that if we don’t play the four games and don’t qualify, we’re not going to dwell on it,” Hall said. “We’re going to come out here and win those three games.”
Hall said his late coach would have wanted that way.
“It’s tough and it’s still tough,” Hall said. “Sometimes when we’re out on our main field we just think like, ‘Dang, I miss coach (Jones) walk down the hill and hear coach yelling at us walking off the field for water.’ It’s an adjustment, but it’s an adjustment for all of us, just not the players. The coaching staff has done a wonderful job.”
Hall, who has a scholarship offer from Fordham University, is being court…