FORT BRANCH, Ind. (WFIE) - It was a big Friday night on the gridiron as four local high school football teams took the field against an opponent for the first time in the COVID-19 era.
“Not a lot has felt normal in the past five or six months, however long it’s been,” Gibson Southern head coach Nick Hart said. “The two hours that we get to spend out here everyday, it feels normal - other then everybody being in masks and stuff. But there is that feeling of normalcy, I think, for the kids and the coaches, and going up against someone else tonight adds a little bit more to that.”
Although there was no tally in the win column for either team, the scrimmages marked another step forward in hopes of playing a full football season.
“Just to be able to be out here and play with the guys you grew up with,” Gibson Southern quarterback Brady Allen said. “Your teammates and your brothers, it’s a good feeling and at least we can play. We’re doing everything that we can to keep everybody safe and everybody healthy, and just trying to get back into football mode.”
For the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, it was a 3-phase plan implemented back in June that allowed teams to get to this point.
“Lot of hard work from the community, our families, our parents, players and coaches,” EVSC Athletic Director Andy Owen said. “Tremendous effort to get here, we’re going to enjoy this and not take any day for granted. Really proud again of everything that they’ve accomplished to get to this point, having fun playing a game with their teammates representing their school tonight.”
Empty stands, distanced sidelines and face masks at the ready - it’s all apart of playing football in a COVID-19 world.
“It’s the best feeling in the world, especially since the season could get cancelled at any second,” Central senior Camdyn Counts said. “So we’re just enjoying every second that we can out here with our teammates. I love it, everybody out here is excited, whatever it takes so we can play, everybody I think will go with those rules - I think everybody is really excited to be out here.”
Six local teams will compete in scrimmages on Saturday, August 15.
Kickoff for Week 1 in Indiana is slated for Friday, August 21.