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High school football season kicks off: 'To see it so empty, it sucks'

Posted at 7:50 AM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 09:50:10-04

ARVADA, Colo. — High school football players got their first taste of victory or loss on Thursday night as the football season got underway.

Twelve teams kicked off the fall football season. Colorado High School Activities and Association (CHSAA) will hold two seasons, one in fall and another in spring, for schools that needed more time to put safety protocols in place to keep fans, staff and students safe.

On Thursday, Pomona High School swept Chaparral High School, 35 to 0. The teams faced off at North Area Athletic Complex. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the stadium.

"Not quite exactly how we were hoping to celebrate this year, but we're excited to play football this year," Stadium Manager Sun Roesslein said.

Many changes were made at the football stadium to meet the Jefferson County Public Health requirements. The fan capacity was limited to 600 — 300 tickets for each school. Everyone was required to wear masks unless they were playing on the field, eating or drinking. Temperature checks were taken at the entrance and fans were split up into four areas. On the field, players on the sidelines had marked areas to help ensure social distancing.

Jayme Butler snapped photos of her daughter, a senior on the pom squad. She said her daughter was excited to get out and cheer on her team.

"I just told her like everything else, you guys will adapt. It's going to be an awesome year to make the best of it," Butler said.

Katie Jablonski and her husband say their son was nervous about his new position in the game, but add that he was ready to get back on the field.

"We are just happy to be playing football and get the kids back out there doing what they love," Jablonski said.

Stephanie Silva came with her family to cheer on her daughter, a pom squad dancer.

"It's kind of sad," Silva said. "We are used to the stands being filled, just to see it so empty it sucks."

The crowds at the game were small and many fans took notice of the much quieter atmosphere.

"We are happy that the boys are able to play and the girls are able to dance, but it's not quite the same feeling as we are used to," Silva said.

Three Chaparral High School football players sat in the stands. They said a student in their classroom tested positive for COVID-19 and they had to quarantine and missed too many practices to play.

"This is our lives for a lot of us, so if we didn't have a season, we wouldn't know what to do," Chaparral High School junior Bradley Fink said.

Football teams will play six regular-season games and must play four games to qualify for the post-game. The extra flexibility allows teams to cancel games in case there are COVID-19 concerns.

According to our partners in Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School was scheduled to play on Saturday at North Area Athletic Complex, but the game was canceled after teammates on the football team were quarantined.