LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It’s the first Touchdown Friday Night of the season for teams in Jefferson County Public Schools. Players, parents and fans have been anxiously awaiting the kickoff of the football season. Each school has put new safety steps in place for the opening game.
At Fern Creek High, social distancing markers have been set up to separate the fans, each of whom must be masked and have their temperature taken before entering the stadium. No cash will be taken and health and safety reminders are posted at the entry gates.
“They’ll get their COVID-19 tracers put in their vouchers,” Troy Johnson, the Fern Creek athletic director, explained.
It’s all part of the new online check-in as the Tigers prepared to welcome the Ballard Bruins.
“This is exciting,” Johnson said smiling. “We’ve got great weather, a great facility and we can’t wait, the kids cannot wait to get out there and play in front of their families.”
It will be families only right now as players and school staff are being given the ticket vouchers. That’s about 500 fans total, 250 for each team’s side of the stadium.
“They’re all pumped and excited,” Tigers coach Josh Abell said of his team.
Abell said the community is excited too, but called it “unfortunate” that a lot of fans can’t be at the games. If they could, Abell said, “it would be jumping in there.”
“A lot of planning went in we’ve been working on this for a couple of months now,” Johnson said of the pandemic safety rules.
Johnson and staffers created the reminders in the stands using their 6 foot long Tiger mascot as the way to mark how far apart fans of one family should be seated from another.
On the field, the sidelines are marked so the 60 allowed players on each team can find their safe distance spot. There are no locker rooms for the players and, for now, no concessions for the fans. The hope is the masks stay on and everyone follows the rules so the kids can stay on the field.
Abell said his kids are still thankful to play under the new guidelines, but also know that at any moment it could all be taken away.
“You look at what’s happened around the state, all you need is to give the administrators one excuse and they’ll cut you off from it (playing), so we’ve got to do things the right way and that’s what this whole week has been about,” Abell said. We want to prepare for Ballard, but at the end of the day we want to follow the COVID-19 regulations so we’ll be allowed to play some football games."
The Tigers host the Bruins with kickoff at 7:30.