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Crowds return to high school football games

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 11:13 PM EDT
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GALLIPOLIS, Ohio (WSAZ) - High school football games got underway Friday in Ohio and Kentucky, and the atmosphere felt much more normal than when contests were played last fall in front of nearly empty stadiums.

This season, stadiums are allowed to be at full capacity, creating a stark contrast from a year ago, when only masked family members were allowed to attend.

The crowd at the Battle of the Border between rivals Gallia Academy and Meigs was thrilled to be back.

“I’ve been waiting on it two years,” Mike Fisher, who graduated from Gallia Academy in 2001, said. “I didn’t get to do it last year because of COVID.”

“I think it’s healthy for your mind and spirit,” Zach Green, who had to listen to games on the radio last year, said. “Everyone gets their spirits up, and it gets these football players going.”

Others worry it’s premature to be celebrating a return to normalcy with COVID-19 numbers surging.

“If it doesn’t slow down soon, we’re going to be in a world of trouble,” Holzer CEO Dr. Michael Canady said.

Canady addressed the large crowd about 20 minutes before kickoff, standing on the field with a microphone, urging those who haven’t already been vaccinated to do so.

“My biggest fear right now is a month from now, we may have people getting sick and not have hospital beds for them to actually come and be in.”

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