Fall football season is back for many high schools after year on hold due to COVID pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Friday night high school football is a tradition in many communities; a tradition that has been on hold for more than a year due to the pandemic.

But this Friday, the wait for many schools is over as they kick off the start of the fall football season.

"It is very exciting," said parent Dalen Mathys. "Not necessarily football weather, but very exciting to be here."

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Barrington High School had to add temporary stands to accommodate the huge crowd they were expecting for Friday's game.

"Everybody in the school and the community is excited. That first home football game is a big deal," said Barrington Athletic Director Mike Obsuszt.

The first game of the high school season is often a chance for students and families to bond and get behind their school. It's an opportunity they missed last season when football was moved to the spring and attendance at games was strictly limited.

However, at South Elgin High School, they had to do a last-minute scramble when their original opponent, Fenton, canceled because of COVID concerns.

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St. Viator jumped in to play after they canceled their out-of-state game because of COVID as well.

"One thing we've learned as athletic directors over the last year is things will change. They had some concerns with the opponent they were going to play and our opponent had the same thing, so we were able to match up together," said Mike Jezioro, athletic director at South Elgin.

Many schools will encourage masks and social distancing, but because the games are outside, many school officials are hoping they will pose less risk. They are also hoping despite the rise in cases related to the Delta variant, the games will continue for the rest of the season.

"Hopefully the variant doesn't continue to spread and cause more mitigations and cancellations," Obsuszt said.
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