What high-school football looks like during a pandemic

Updated: Aug. 21, 2020 at 10:56 PM EDT
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DEARBORN COUNTY, In. (FOX19) - The first high-school football game in the Tri-State kicked off Friday night in St. Leon, In., pitting East Central against Lawrenceburg.

It was an undeniably romantic scene, the embers of a perfect Midwestern sunset diminishing through halftime as the hometown team put on a show — East Central would win 34-7.

But this wasn’t the pastoral rite of years past, not with assigned seats and sanitizing, not with masks and capacity limits, not with the intercom ringing: “Please distance wherever possible unless it is with members of your immediate household.”

Welcome to high-school football... that is, welcome to the strange commingling of ritual and restraint that is high-school football during a global pandemic.

A total of 2,250 tickets were sold for the game. That’s 50 percent capacity for East Central’s stadium and as much as the Indiana Department of Health would allow.

Masks were mandatory, though compliance was uneven.

Social distancing was required, though the students, seated on one side of a caution-tape divider, were somewhat better about it than the general attendees on the other.

Starting running back Hunter Sohn’s family watched on from the stands.

“We’ve been waiting forever,” Maria Sohn said. “Kind of like hoping, not getting too excited, worried that it was going to be canceled at the last minute.”

As for the safety measures, the Sohn family soldiered through.

“It kind of stinks,” Maria said, “but we love football, so whatever we can do to get football, we’re good with.”

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