ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa, (KDKA) — More local school districts tested the waters with bigger crowds at football games Friday without state or local gathering limits in place.
Many schools in the area, however, are not opening the gates to everyone just yet. Seneca Valley hosted Norwin on Friday night for its first home game of the season.
Each participant — including band, dance team and cheerleaders — got two tickets. Norwin also received a limited number of tickets. Seneca Valley Athletic Director Heather Lewis said the stadium was at about 16 percent capacity.
“We’re going to do this responsibly, and we’re going to do this safely,” she said. “We can’t lose sight that we still have a pandemic in front of us.”
Lewis commended the community, most of whom came out with masks and complied with social distancing. Each bleacher at NexTier Stadium was marked with either a red or yellow X. Yellow Xs meant the bleacher was open, while red Xs meant the bleacher was closed.
Chris Martin, the father of a senior on Seneca Valley’s football team, said there was some uncertainty over the summer over whether or not there would be a season.
“There’s nothing better on a Friday night,” he said. “It means everything to be here.”
Limited ticket sales have become a popular method of crowd control throughout the region.
Following Allegheny County’s announcement Thursday, the Hampton Township School District announced it would allow more people to attend sporting events, starting with Friday’s football game.
“We really just found out about this late Thursday,” said Hampton Township Athletic Director Bill Cardone. “To coordinate and organize all of that with all the other things you have to do, we just decided to start off slow.”
Each Hampton football player, cheerleader and band member received two tickets. Dots on the bleachers encouraged social distancing. The visiting team did not receive tickets.
Tony Harold, whose son is a senior on Hampton’s football team, said they watched the first two games of the season via a livestream.
“I’ve been coming to all his games since he was in first grade, so I’m pretty excited,” he said of watching a game live.
Cardone hopes this week’s protocols lead to increased fan attendance in the future.
“Right now, we’re at the 25 percent level, we’re probably going to go to maybe 50 percent level,” he said.