The high school football season in the State of Michigan has began.
Fall practice is underway and the Westwood Patriots wasted no time getting to work. Coach Jim Marana's squad took the field just past midnight eastern Monday morning and ran his guys through conditioning drills for over an hour. The concession stand was open to serve close to sixty fans watching practice on a humid night in Ishpeming.
This is the second consecutive year Westwood has opened fall practice at midnight and the players, like senior Ivan Niemi, say it's a hit. "I love it. My dad found something online that coaches downstate were doing it and we thought we need a jump start so let's go at midnight," said Niemi.
When asked if he knew if crosstown rival Ishpeming High School was practicing at midnight Monday, Niemi grinned, "I hope not. This is our jumpstart. We'll certainly see in week four (Westwood at Ishpeming, September 18) who was working at midnight," Niemi added.
Coach Marana was more focused on getting the kids ready for week one. "It's the end of the summer; we had our fun and now it's time to go to work. The season's right around the corner. In three weeks we'll be playing in our first ballgame just like everybody else, so it's time to work," said Marana.
The Patriots open the 2009 season August 28 against Mid-Peninsula Conference rival Gwinn High School.