KIMBERLY, Wis. (WFRV) – On a beautiful March afternoon, in the crisp spring air, the sound of young men hitting tackling dummies fill the air. Yes, I said March.
Welcome to 2021. We play football in the spring here due to COVID-19.
“It means everything. I mean, sitting at school is pretty difficult with a mask on. And I just know that a lot of kids need this sport,” Kimberly senior Briar Barglind said. “It’s crucial to some kids. Myself included. You can just go out there with your family and just play ball.”
You can see the joy on every single players face at Papermaker Stadium. This first day of practice, long postponed since the Papermakers deferred their season to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been long awaited.
“Just excited today. to finally get here and get on a field on a beautiful March day. Been really impressed with our kids consistency and commitment in the offseason and focusing on what they can control,” Kimberly head coach Steve Jones said.
“We didn’t really think about that too much, we just kept thinking positively and kept working out and kept pushing ourselves to hopefully have a season and first day is here,” Kimberly senior Deiondre Williams said.
It’s an abbreviated season the Papermakers are playing in. They’re in a combined conference between the FRCC and the FVA, called the Fox Valley Classic Football Conference. They’ll play five regular season games, and then the top two teams from each regular season pod go into a two game playoff format. Ultimate bragging rights on the table.
“Being able to play for something at the end, I think is really important. If we had just had a seven game season, you’re losing that apex at the end of the year,” Jones said. “But since we have our regular season pod and then we kinda get to have some closure at the end, I think it’s really exciting for our kids. “
“I mean, it means everything. Given the times we’re in right now? Any game, any situation, never take for granted so we’re just going to go out there and play our hearts out,” Barglind said.
The Papermakers kick off their season on Friday, March 26th against Sheboygan South.