The Wadena-Deer Creek football team, like most teams within the district, went into this bizarre season knowing that any game could be their last.
Perhaps it was that mentality that pushed the team to three big wins during the season, ending the year at 3-3. Those were wins the team desperately needed after going 0-9 last season.
Going into their last game, their only playoff game, against Staples-Motley, the team’s mindset did not change about how to play.
“We’ve talked about this from the first day of summer, you don’t know if you're going to get any games,” head varsity football coach Kyle Petermeier said. “Each game we got, we were blessed.”
The season was strange, with practices that kept players distanced. Actual games had few spectators yelling from the bleachers. The players had to keep their masks on while on the sideline. But in the heat of the battle, it felt somewhat normal.
“Once we got into the game, it just felt like football,”Petermeier said. “For those two and half or three hours they could forget about everything else.”
This was Petermeier’s third year with WDC football and second as varsity coach. He said he can take pride in the team competing in every game this season. While the team loses five seniors, those remaining team members, including six juniors, got the taste of victory that they needed. Petermeier said those seniors were all important to the team. They led by example showing that hard work pays off.
The Wolverines were not as hard hit by COVID-19 as some teams and up until the last couple games had all players able to show up. At one point they had about 15 players on quarantine, which really hurt practice efforts. Unfortunately the junior varsity team was only able to play two games during the season. Many younger players did get some extra playing time on varsity, which could be a boost for next season.
Petermeier is proud of how the team took COVID seriously by wearing their masks throughout the process from field, to bus and beyond, knowing that taking those steps would help keep the team playing to their full potential.
The team will have a virtual award ceremony Dec. 16 to celebrate the successes of a season that could have never happened.
Out of a five-team district, WDC ended up in third place.