Football games start with COVID-19 protocols

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)– The lights are shining bright tonight at football fields across southern Indiana as high school teams battle it out for the first time this season.

The teams took the field despite on-going changes during the coronavirus pandemic. The stands are nowhere near full Friday since there is a limit on how many fans can come into the stadium. But that doesn’t mean either team is lacking team spirit.

Football players are back in their element with the first game of the season kicking off. But things are different in the stadium and on the field.

Cheerleaders still line the track wearing facemasks when not cheering. Fans set up on the metal bleachers in designated rows. But the band isn’t playing during the game and they don’t get to stay after they perform.

“The parents at least get to come stand on the track and watch but then we have to leave as well. So that’s different for sure,” Brenda Hawkins says.

Before the game, they came out and played a shorter version of their usual half-time show and the national anthem. Band parents are just pleased they get something this year especially after their season was canceled.

“Everyone was disappointed. But they’re happy they get to do something. So they just did a modified version of what they were planning on doing,” Hawkins explains.

As for fans with a limit of only 250 people per side, some weren’t able to secure a ticket.

“We can’t get tickets to the games because as Mater Dei fans we couldn’t get tickets. Only the parents,” Christian Allen says.

Zane Renfroe and Christian Allen are both seniors for Mater Dei High School. They say it’s hard seeing all of the empty seats and they wish they and their classmates could fill them and cheer on their team.

“It’s pretty disappointing because that’s something you look forward to when you’re growing up. Freshman, sophomore, junior year. But you just got to go with it,” Allen continues.

“I’d really like to be able to be supporting them from the sidelines but I’ll take what I can get,” Zane Renfroe says.

The general consensus from though they’re just glad the boys are able to take to the field for the season.

The game sold out tonight with 500 people buying tickets. That’s the limit set forth by the EVSC. As of now, there isn’t any guidance on if more people will be allowed in the future.

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(This story was originally published on Aug. 20, 2020)

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