Morton High School kicks off abbreviated football season in Hammond

HAMMOND, Ind. (WLS) -- The sights and sounds of football return to northwest Indiana this weekend.

The players on the field may not able to go to class during the school day as they continue remote learning, but thanks to a decision by their school board, they can now play football.

"This feels like home," said high school senior Carson Johnson. "Ten brothers on the field."

Most Indiana schools have been playing football for a month now, but Hammond's Morton High school is one of several northwest Indiana schools that held off.

RELATED: Munster high school football season kicks off with COVID-19 safety precautions
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The Munster Mustangs are back on the field, planning to play each game like it could be their last, all while keeping safety top of mind.

They only decided to allow football for their first games just this week.

"It's not so much the score, it's the significance of being out here," said Coach Mack Mishler. "Could be their last opportunity to play the game."

While they may be back on the field now, there is still no guarantee for the rest of the season if there is a coronavirus outbreak.

However, for this first game, they chose to honor the seniors.

There were many safety procedures in place, including limiting capacity in the stands to 50%, as well as marked seating for social distancing.

Masks are also mandatory for fans.

"Our priority is to keep everybody safe and let the kids get their exposure," Athletic Director Ryan Sosnowski said.

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The team is planning to play each game like it could be their last, all while keeping safety top of mine.

Since they are not in class, the football game is the first time many students have seen their friends since last spring.

"It's great to be around people again," said high school sophomore Brandon Martinez.

For most families of players, this is what they've been waiting for.

"He's so excited to be back out there and for us to be here," said parent Monica Santos.

Although the season for them has just started, there are only two more games left, but parents and players say they'll take it.
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