ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa, (KDKA) — More local school districts tested the water with a larger crowd at Friday’s football match without state or local gathering restrictions.
Federal judges ruled some state restrictions unconstitutional, including collection of restrictions, and Allegheny County lifted restrictions on Thursday.
However, many schools in the area are not yet open to everyone. Seneca Valley hosted Norwin on Friday night for their first home game of the season.
Each participant, including the band, dance team, and cheerleader, received two tickets. Norwin also received a limited number of tickets. Heather Lewis, Seneca Valley Athletic Director, said the stadium’s capacity was around 16%.
“We will do this responsibly and we will do it safely,” she said. “We still can’t lose the pandemic ahead of us.”
Lewis praised the community, most of them wearing masks and adhering to social distancing. Each grandstand at NexTier Stadium is marked with a red or yellow X. A yellow X means the grandstand is open and a red X means the grandstand is closed.
Chris Martin, father of a senior Seneca Valley football team, said there is some uncertainty as to whether there will be a summer season.
“There is nothing better on Friday night,” he said. “It means everything here.”
Limited ticket sales have become a popular crowd control method in the area.
Following the announcement by Allegheny County on Thursday, the Hampton Township School District announced Friday that it will allow more people to attend the sporting event, starting with a football match.
“We got to know late this Thursday,” said Bill Cardone, Hampton Township Athletic Director. “We decided to start slowly to get all the other things you need to do to coordinate and organize.”
Each Hampton football player, cheerleader, and band member received two tickets. The points on the grandstand encouraged social distancing. The visiting team did not receive the ticket.
His son, Tony Harold, a senior on the Hamptons football team, said he had watched the first two matches of the season live.
“I’m pretty excited that he’s been coming to all of his matches since grade 1,” he said about the game being broadcast live.
Cardone hopes this week’s protocol will increase fan engagement in the future.
“Currently we are at the 25% level and we will probably go up to the 50% level,” he said.