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MHSAA: Football, volleyball, Lower Peninsula swimming tourneys to resume in early January

EAST LANSING — The Michigan high school fall sports season is stretching into January, but no spectators will be allowed.

Football playoffs will resume Jan. 2. The eight-player championship games and 11-player semifinals will be played Jan. 9, followed by the 11-player finals on Jan. 15-16, the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Friday.

The announcement came after the state health director said football and volleyball players and swimmers will participate in a coronavirus antigen-testing program.

“If individual students or teams refuse to be a part of this rapid testing requirement, they would not be able to participate in our tournament event,” said Mark Uyl, MHSAA director.

Uyl stated that the rapid COVID-19 testing is a pilot program, that will be provided to the participating fall tournament schools, free of charge by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

All semifinals in both 11 and 8-player football will be played at home sites.

Iron Mountain, one of eight teams left in Division 8 of the 11-player tournament, would have its regional final on Jan 2. and state semifinal game on Jan. 9, both at Mountaineer Stadium. The Mountaineers, who sit a 8-1, have the second-most playoff points of the eight teams remaining in Division 8. Clarkston Everest Collegiate, a Region 4 team, sits at 38.833 playoff points, with Iron Mountain at 36.933. IM and CEC wouldn’t meet one another until the state finals.

Uyl stated the MHSAA is talking to Ford Field about hosting the 11-player football finals; and that the site of the 8-player finals is also currently to be determined.

In Division 2 of 8-player competition, undefeated (9-0) North Central is set to host 8-1 Marion in a semifinal game Jan. 2 at Powers North Central High School.

Volleyball quarterfinals will be held on Jan. 5, with semifinals and finals on Jan. 7-9. Girls swimming and diving finals are scheduled for Jan. 15-16. There are three U.P. teams still playing in the volleyball post season. Calumet in Division 3, will take on Beaverton at Houghton Lake in a quarterfinal match. In Division 4, Carney-Nadeau will take on Rudyard at Manistique, also a quarterfinal matchup.

All indoor winter sports remain suspended until Jan. 16.

“We want to be able to complete the winter seasons by as late in March as possible. That will make the regular season potentially six to seven weeks long,” said Uyl. The amount of contests per week, and even the possibility of allowing two contests per day on a Saturday or Sunday may become allowable.

The MHSAA’s Representative Council will meet Tuesday to discuss details for the rest of winter sports.

Girls and boys alpine skiing season — competed outdoors and following safety protocols including all activity must be outdoors — will be allowed to begin practice Monday.

Uyl stated that all spring 2021 sports are expected to begin on time and play complete seasons concluding with their traditional MHSAA Tournament dates in May and June.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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