MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Parents and athletes aren’t giving up on their high school football seasons.

Families and coaches from across the state rallied outside the governor’s residence in St. Paul Saturday in a call to go forward with playing football games this fall.

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The Minnesota State High School League has approved moving football to a modified spring season.

More information on that decision can be found here.

Protesters at the rally chanted, “Give us the ball, let’s play this fall!”

“They want a chance to get under those Friday night lights,” said Christina Clark, a parent in the Dassel-Cokato district in Wright County. “Last night, I would’ve rather sat on the bleachers and instead I sat at a bar soaking my sorrows. That’s no way for a mom to be.”

Parents say one of the reasons they want a season is the academic accountability it puts on their kids. They also don’t want their athletes to miss out on potential college recruiting opportunities.

Some too are worried about the wear and tear from playing football in spring and next fall.

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“It’s just going to lead to a bunch of injuries and cut down on scholarships, because injuries can take away a scholarship in a split second,” said Tyson Bautch, a football player at Centennial High School.

The MSHSL told WCCO Saturday, “There is no movement toward starting football and volleyball this fall…Highly unlikely, considering the calendar, that anything would change with [the] current fall sports plan.”

New data shows 73 athletes tested positive from Aug. 21 to Sept. 4, and 735 students came in close contact with a positive case.

“All sports have risks,” said Sheila Nelson, a mother of a high school football player in Mora in Kanabec County. “That’s why there’s an ambulance parked on the field on Friday nights. We know the risks and we want to do whatever we can to help minimize the risk for these students and that’s why we will wear our masks.”

Clark says she and other parents want to sign waivers to put liability on them.

An online petition to play football in Minnesota this fall has gathered more than 11,000 signatures.

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At least 33 states are having their fall football seasons, including Wisconsin.

David Schuman