One of the final questions fielded by DeWitt football coach Rob Zimmerman on Friday night in the moments following another impressive victory centered around the uncertainty of things ahead amid rising COVID-19 cases in the state.
The veteran coach expressed hope then about his program having the chance to continue to play. But Zimmerman also has realized all fall that things could be taken away at any time.
It’s a message he talked about daily with what he has called a special group of players.
And now Zimmerman’s desire to see how far one of the best teams he’s had at DeWitt can go in the postseason is put on hold for at least the next three weeks due to an order released Sunday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in its efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Division 3 top-ranked DeWitt is regarded as one of Greater Lansing’s top state title contenders in the remaining fall sports left to be completed. It is among a number of school and sports impacted by what the MHSAA hopes is a temporary pause as it aims to have all its seasons played to conclusion.
The Panthers are among seven area football teams still playing. No. 2-ranked East Lansing has its showdown with top-ranked Muskegon Mona Shores for a regional title in Division 2 on hold until the season resumes. And if, and when, the season resumes, will the Trojans have the services of their two Division I-bound players in Andrel Anthony Jr. (Michigan) and Ethan Boyd (Michigan State)? Both have plans to early enroll at their schools in January.
Division 7 top-ranked Ithaca, 8-player Division 2 No. 3 Portland St. Patrick, reigning Division 5 state champion Lansing Catholic, Williamston and Carson City-Crystal are the other area football teams that have had their championship dreams put on hold.
Lakewood volleyball, the No. 2-ranked team in Division 2, was hoping to finally get its breakthrough this weekend in Battle Creek and win the state championship it has come so close to over the past few years. Michigan State signee Aubrey O’Gorman and Maradith O’Gorman have made it their mission to try to help the Vikings end their season on top and now are forced to wait and see if that becomes a possibility.
Lakewood is one of three volleyball teams still in title contention entering the quarterfinals. Lansing Christian, ranked No. 5 in the state, and honorable mention-ranked Fowler remain in contention for Division 4 state titles after each captured regional crowns last week.
Lansing Christian found itself at this stage of the season for the first time since 2005.
Several area swimming programs are also impacted as the state finals were scheduled to take place this weekend. Jordyn Shipps has been a standout and set all sorts of records in the pool for CAAC Blue champion DeWitt, which has hopes to continue its success at the state meet.
Williamston’s Gwen Eisenbeis and Eaton Rapids’ Maggie Monroe are among the other area swimmers that have had strong seasons that are now forced to play the waiting game and hope their seasons can resume.
As part of his message Friday, Zimmerman said his talented team deserves a chance to see what it can accomplish.
That message rings true for the other impacted fall sports programs as they try to get their seasons completed, and also for the winter sports that are trying to get their seasons started.
Waiting, for now, is all they can do.
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.