ARLINGTON, Texas - It's kickoff week for the larger high school football programs in the state.
The 5A and 6A schools would have normally started about two months ago. A number of high school football teams are finally back in action.
We’re seeing plenty of offensive catches and we’re also seeing plenty of defensive hits.
But the facemasks worn by band members are an indication this season is different.
Because of the pandemic, the UIL pushed back the start of the season for the larger 5A and 6A schools by roughly two months. Smaller schools were pushed back by about one month.
Dee Hicks is cheering on her nephew who plays for Denton Ryan High School. Their season opener against Arlington Martin is part of the UIL’s 100 years of high school football celebration at AT&T Stadium on Friday.
“Once you start cheering, it’s a little different with the people not being around. That’s the biggest difference,” Hicks said.
Fans are required to wear masks. Families are social distancing from other families.
“I’m a nurse. So I know if you wear a mask and you do hand hygiene, you’re good,” Hicks said.
Masks might make it difficult for fans to cheer.
“It does get in the way, and yes I am that parent that likes to yell and scream,” said parent Latasha Hill. “And so yeah, it is different. It’s a different experience to even have to be indoors with a mask on, but it’s necessary.”
“I was concerned for start,” said parent Carmela Fusaro. “But when I came in everybody is wearing mask and observing the distances, I was so impressed.”
The Fusaro family moved to Texas during the pandemic. Their cheerleading daughter hasn’t been able to make too many friends because of COVID-19 restrictions. They’re grateful she has this opportunity.
“When this first started, I told her this was going to be really rough,” Fusaro said.
It’s been tough times for many. But one thing is for certain: football fans are happy to be back.
“And football is such an essential part of fall,” Hicks said. “It goes with pumpkins, pumpkin-spice lattes and football.”