Midnight Madness Brings LCN Football Fans Back to School 3 Weeks Early
Crusader Nation was out in force Sunday night as students and parents filled the North stadium to celebrate the start of the 2012 football season with a 12:01 a.m. practice.
There are few things that can entice high school students to go back to school early but football proved to be one of them Sunday night, as hundreds of students returned to L’Anse Creuse North to kick off the 2012 football season.
It was the school’s first-ever Midnight Madness celebration, featuring a movie on the field, alumni vs. county officials flag football game and front-row seat to the first official practice of the 2012 Crusader season at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
“With Midnight Madness, we wanted to bring out the community to support the program,” said LCN’s new varsity football coach Anthony Kiner. “You need three things to have a successful football program: to become a family as a program, to have the support of your community, and to have the support of your school and educational system. With that, you can be really successful.”
A former Western Michigan University football player and coach at East Detroit, Kiner, 30, has a big job ahead, first and foremost being to revive a program that has suffered two consecutive winless seasons.
Kiner said his first order of business is to change the program's "culture," with Midnight Madness being the first step.
“It’s not so much about strategy,” he said. “You have to change the culture. When the kids step on the field, they have to believe they can win. The school has to believe they can win. It’s a brand new season every year.”
Under Michigan High School Athletic Association rules, high school football teams are not permitted to start fall practice until Monday, Aug. 6, but the Crusaders didn’t want to waste a minute, and so started their practice – to the deafening cheers of fans in the stands – at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
Megan Barr and Marina Biundo, both 17, were among the hundreds of LCN students to take part in Midnight Madness.
“My brother is on the football team so I came out to support him,” Biundo said.
"I came out to support all our football players," Barr said. "Hopefully we’ll have a successful season for once."
But win or lose, Barr and Biundo say they’ll support their Crusaders all season long.
"It would be great to win a game," Biundo said, "but if not, they're still our football team and we'll be supportive."
It’s this overwhelming feeling of support that tight end Kyle Kerpet said will make this season better than the last.
“It feels great to have everyone out here,” the 16-year-old said. “We’re going to be better this year. We have better players and we’re going to have position players.”
As for what fans will see on the field, Kiner said he’s implementing “a whole new system” of play.
“I’m bringing in a spread system. It lets more athletes be on the field. Our system is a little friendlier to the kids coming in.”
The Crusaders open their season at home against Cousino on Aug. 23.