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Friday night lights looks different in the age of COVID-19

Posted at 11:45 AM, Aug 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-29 12:46:31-04

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — Shoulder-to-shoulder student sections and parents screaming from the sidelines, that’s the feeling of Friday night lights.

But in the age of COVID-19, stadium stands won’t be nearly as packed. New safety guidelines are limiting the number of people allowed to attend games.

Papillion La Vista High School Athletic Director Jason Ryan says a Titan and Monarch rival game would normally fill the stadium with roughly 6,000 fans. Now, it might be around 1,500 for proper social distancing.

Ryan adds the Metro Conference decided to start small in terms of fans attending games this Fall.

“Each participant for our team, the varsity team, can have up to four people come with immediate family,” Ryan said. “That’s the same thing with our cheer and dance team members, as well.”

He asks those fans to social distance in the stands, wear a mask and to not attend if they are feeling sick.

There will be limited concessions, no tailgating and other restrictions that will most definitely impact the Friday night light experience.

“I guess I’m going to have to pick my game up this year,” Jeff Price said. “All of us parents… pick up the slack for lack of students.”

“We’re going to give as much support to our team as we can,” Papillion La Vista South High Dance Coach Megan Seeley said.

COVID-19 has not only impacted game night, Ryan says it’s taken a toll on the Athletic Department’s revenue.

He adds students and fans understand the safety guidelines, and are patiently waiting to have a packed stadium in the future.

“It’s disappointing that we can’t have our student sections here, but we are grateful to be playing,” Ryan said.

Ryan says fans can watch the game on plvmedia.com.