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UPDATED: For Andover Football, No More Friday Night Lights

The 2012 varsity football season ends early, leaving administrators scrambling to restore the homecoming experience for the final time in school history.

 

The corner of Andover and Long Lake roads was unusually quiet Friday night. No bright lights to drown out the moonlight, no thumping drum beats from the marching band, and no rattle of the aluminum stands shaking from the enthusiasm of a raucous crowd.

There simply was no football Friday night at Andover High School. And despite the best efforts of school officials, coaches, parents and players, there will never be again.

The Barons forfeited to Ferndale in the midst of a three-game homestand during the school's final varsity football season with the pending merger to Bloomfield Hills High School in 2013.

A roster of injured and frustrated students quickly began to lose interest following a few winless performances on the field.

R.J. Guizzetti, Andover's athletic coordinator, said of the 28 players that attended football camp in late August, only 12 were able to wear pads in practice last Monday, and 11 on Tuesday.

"We cannot expect our players to play in a football game on Friday when they are not able to be coached during the week on the techniques and skills that they need to have to be safe and successful," Guizzetti said. "With 7-8 players injured and others missing practices for other reasons, we felt that we had to do this to keep from putting our players in an unsafe situation."

All for naught

The decision to cancel the season, officially announced by administrators last Wednesday, was nearly made twice during the last school year. Even before the 2011 team comprised of just 21 players finished the season, there was concern among school and district officials whether a 2012 team was viable.

Administrators and coaches, led by Andover Principal Rob Durecka and then-head coach Jim DeWald called meetings among the male student body and eventually had a strong enough commitment to meet the December deadline for registering to play the 2012 season, per Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) rules.

Those commitments were tested again in February when DeWald accepted an open head coaching position at Seaholm High School, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"seaholm-football-hires-andover-coach-jim-dewald"} -->. The players and administrators rallied, enlisting the help of

Catherine Grace September 17, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Thanks for covering this story so well!

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