DES MOINES, Iowa — Hoover High School came within the brink of not fielding a football team this season due to a lack of players. Hoover eventually found enough students to form a team, and the new-look Huskies introduced themselves to their home crowd.

Hoover’s varsity team faced off against North Friday night in a home opener anticipated by both players and parents.

“This is my child’s senior year, but it’s his first year playing football,” said Hoover parent Leticia Skinner. “My favorite part is watching the pure enjoyment on their faces.”

Hoover athletic director Jacob Burke said it took a lot of recruiting to build a team, but he’s proud of what they have assembled.

“There’s 35 or so players on varsity,” Burke said. “Kids are so excited, you can see them walking into the stadium just happy to have a game.”

It’s a complete contrast from January, where Burke made the later-reversed decision to cancel the football season.

“We were scared of the numbers,” Burke said. “When COVID happened, you could just see the wind knocked out of kids, in terms of excitement. It turned off that dream, and it’s hard to start it up again.”

Many in the Hoover community are grateful that Huskies will get to experience the Friday night lights this year.

“It’s great that the program is back,” said We were all devastated when they wanted to take it away, but we’re all happy it’s back and we’re hoping tonight will be a good night for them.”

Hoover lost its home opener to North 30-6.