This year, DeWitt High School had to take a different approach to its Oct. 7 homecoming festivities.
Heading into week eight of the boys varsity football season, the DeWitt Panthers were matched up against the Okemos Wolves at Memorial Stadium for the homecoming game. Okemos, however, had to cancel the remainder of its varsity football season because of injuries and a young team.
Five-year DeWitt High School athletic director and graduate Micheal Brya said he did everything in his power to make sure his athletes and students had a homecoming game.
“We were all just trying to figure out how we can do this,” Brya said. “Throughout the country just about every homecoming revolves around a football game.” DeWitt considered searching for a new opponent for the game, but with a week and a half notice and games already set, a new opponent would be a hard find.
In place of a Friday night football game, the athletic department arranged for a soccer game. After a week of searching, the DeWitt boys varsity soccer team was matched against Petoskey.
Prior to the game there was a parade, tailgate, obstacle courses, and a teacher versus student tennis match.
The football team and students were very supportive of the soccer team throughout the decision. “The cheerleaders will be involved cheering for the soccer game and we’re hoping for a bigger than normal student section,” said Brya.
During halftime of the game, the Panther Pack, DeWitt’s homecoming court, was introduced and crowned.
Through all the changes, there were no changes for the homecoming dance on Saturday. Brya explained that there are several moving parts in planning and putting on the dance, from DJs to decorators. Rescheduling the dance itself to the next home game would have been a difficult process.
“At the end of the day we’re all DeWitt Panthers,” said Brya, “We all bleed blue and gold, our hope is that this would be no different than a football game.”