Wayne State will not host Prep Kickoff Classic; teams seek alternate sites

David Goricki
The Detroit News

The Prep Kickoff Classic, scheduled to take place the opening week of the high school football season at Wayne State, was canceled Thursday due to COVID-19.

The event, hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission and sponsored by Xenith, was set for Aug. 27-29 with six games — two each day.

Muskegon takes on Warren De La Salle during last year's Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State.

Detroit Cass Tech was to play Grandville on Aug. 29, but now Cass would like to host the Bulldogs on Aug. 28.

“I kind of figured it would be canceled,” Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher told The Detroit News. “Just couldn’t have that many teams at Wayne State in this situation with COVID. We still plan to play the game, just can’t use that site.

“I just talked to (Grandville). We have a contract to play them. We’re going to play them at Cass Tech and we’re trying to get that game on Friday.”

Wilcher’s efforts, however, are dependent on the MHSAA approving the start of football season on Aug. 27. That decision will be announced on Aug. 20.

Dearborn Fordson will play at Canton on Aug. 27, Fordson head coach Walker Zaban confirmed.

Corey Parker guided River Rouge to the Division 3 state championship with a win over Muskegon last November at Ford Field. River Rouge was supposed to play Division 2 state champion Muskegon Mona Shores in the Kickoff Classic.

Now that showdown is in doubt. Parker says the game has to be played on the east side of the state since River Rouge plays at Division 4 state champion Grand Rapids Catholic Central in Week 2.

“We don’t know if we’re going to play them (Mona Shores); there’s a lot of grey area with everything that has occurred in the past 24 hours,” Parker said. “We don’t know what things will look for with us since we’re playing at Grand Rapids Catholic Central in Week 2. We planned on having a neutral site game or home game in Week 1.

“I’ve been in conversation with Mona Shores’ coach and athletic director and they had no plan to come down to us because of Wayne County and its coronavirus numbers. So we’re trying to figure what our next steps are going to be.

“Right now with so many different states shutting down football or adjusting to spring we’re just happy to be able to say we have football starting off as scheduled. We’re looking for the best situation available, but who knows what things will look like over the next week or so.”

Football teams in Michigan can begin organized workouts and conditioning without equipment on Aug. 10 and may begin padded practices on Aug. 17.

Here are the Prep Kickoff Classic games that were scheduled for Wayne State:

Aug. 27: Canton vs. Dearborn Fordson, Chippewa Valley vs. Detroit Catholic Central.

Aug. 28: Birmingham Groves vs. Southfield A&T, Lake Orion vs. Macomb Dakota.

Aug. 29: Detroit Cass Tech vs. Grandville, Muskegon Mona Shores vs. River Rouge.