High school football survives week one during COVID-19 era

“The whole season we’ve been wearing masks. We got some flack on it awhile back for wearing masks at practice, but I don’t care what they say.” Roberts said. “People can think what they want to think, but we’re staying safe. That’s how we’re going to win. Whatever it takes to get a season going.”

Further south in Tempe, visiting Desert Vista High played the Corona del Sol Aztecs in a game involving two schools in the same district as McClintock and Tempe while observing similar protocols.

Household members and media who attended the game were greeted by a Corona del Sol faculty member who asked “can I take your temperature?” rather than the usual, “may I have your ticket?”

That was followed by an admonition to remain at least 6 feet apart at all times.
at all times. The crowd was made up mostly of proud parents along with a handful of students, all sporting the school’s yellow and orange gear.

Cheerleaders and pom poms did not greet fans with a huge smile, at least not one that was visible. But they made their support known loud and clear while wearing masks.

“I think cheering with the mask isn’t that bad in my opinion,” said Aimee Bautista, a member of the school’s spirit squad, “but it could be hard doing some skills like tumbling and stunting.”

Although pom poms removed their masks before they performed a dance routine, they immediately placed them back over their nose and mouth after performing. The band, meanswhile, used only instruments that could be played without removing masks. So, no horns.

On the field, players wore masks while on the sideline unless they were able to move away from others to take a breather. On Desert Vista’s side of the field, athletes and parents followed the same guidelines.

Ryan Bartreau, whose son Kailob is a senior wide receiver and defensive back for the Aztecs, said football brings families together.

“And right now, going through everything and all these hard times, I feel like it’s the best thing that we can have,” the elder Bartreau said. “To have all of us rejoin and just come together, just come as one together again, that’s what football means to me.”

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