MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It will again be feeling more like fall when high schools’ two most popular sports get back into action.

The Minnesota State High School League reversed course Monday on last month’s plans to push football and volleyball to spring.

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The smile barely left A.J. Torfin’s face while he and his mom Michelle Carstensen looked ahead to his last Hopkins Royals football season, now set to kick off on Oct. 9.

“We’re just super excited that they let them play, but it definitely took a crowd of people to get it to go,” Carstensen said.

She is one of 20,000 who make up Let them Play. Minnesota parents pushing through social media, online petitions and with a protest at the governor’s mansion to convince the high school league to rescind their decisions.

“That totally made a difference, it got people on board, even had [my] mom emailing the high school league asking to let them to let them play, so Grandma is in on it,” Carstensen said.

Now, football will play a six-game regular season and two-week postseason, while volleyball will be allowed 14 dual competitions.

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Amy Cardarelle is the athletic director at Minneapolis South High School, where kids still aren’t in class as they started the year in a distance-learning model.

“It’s a little overwhelming but exciting,” Cardarelle said. “For us being in a distance-learning model though, by choice, we just don’t have kids here to get the word out.”

She also worries participation numbers in both sports will be down.

“They’re not willing to risk it, and we have a lot of parents that are in that boat not willing to come back into the situation being it is what it is,” Cardarelle said.

So far, the Minnesota Department of Health has traced 62 COVID-19 outbreaks to sports, with no hospitalizations or deaths.

Torfin hopes his time on the field this fall will mean better things for college next year.

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“I’m just glad that I can play now,” he said. “I can get some film now I can send out there, and that’s good as well.”

Liz Collin