Herriman, Utah — Fans wore masks and players drank from their own water bottles instead of sharing Thursday night at what was said to be the first high school football game in the United States since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The stands were sold out at 25% capacity at Herriman High School as the Mustangs took on the Davis High School Darts, news outlets reported. The game was believed to be the first high school matchup on the gridiron as schools across the country debate whether to play this fall amid COVID-19 concerns.
The home team’s marching band wasn’t present, though both schools brought cheerleaders to the game. They wore masks before kickoff but, like the players, didn’t during the game.
Tickets were sold online and scanned as fans entered the stadium so the school can carry out contact tracing after the game if necessary, CBS Salt Kae City affiliate KUTV reports. Fans were asked to keep their masks on for the entire game and had assigned seats, which were socially distanced, the station says.
“Football is football, so I’m excited for whatever happens,” Tyce Stilson, who has a brother on Davis’s team, remarked to KUTV. “I think it’s great, gives these boys something to do,” Stilson added.
Some parents were excited watching their sons play after not knowing if they would have a season at all.
“We’re just thrilled that they’ll allow us to try it and play tonight,” said Chaleh Trujillo, whose son is the quarterback for Davis.
Her husband, Chris, said their son has kept a good attitude during all the uncertainty.
“Take advantage of what you can do right now,” Trujillo said they told him. “If this is the only game you get, make it the very best you can.”
Tupu Brown, whose son plays for Herriman, says she’s told him there’s nothing they can do to change things.
“The only thing you can do is stay positive and just make sure that you’re safe with yourself masked,” Brown said to KUTV.
While the school has put several safety precautions in place, some have still criticized the decision to play. Brown wasn’t buying the criticism.
“Yeah, I hear it, but, no. Football is life, so let’s just keep going,” Brown said.
Players usually share from a few of the same water bottles, but each had their own as a precaution, the station said.
Fans were also instructed to leave as soon as the game ended, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Davis beat Herriman 24-20.
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