Within a week, a high school football season unlike any will begin around Ohio. Gov. Mike DeWine gave the OK on Tuesday for the Ohio High School Athletic Association to sanction contact sports this fall, beginning Friday with soccer, field hockey and volleyball. Golf and girls tennis already began as low- to non-contact sports.
Football has been a polarizing topic among sports to be played during the coronavirus pandemic, considering the NFL is moving forward with its season while the NCAA has seen the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences halt fall play and others go ahead with plans to continue. High school is no different than the NCAA in terms of a mix between who is playing and who is not. The OHSAA unveiled a plan earlier this month for a shortened regular season and playoffs for all in football.
Walk up to a high school stadium last year — or any previous one — on a Friday night. See the lights towering over the field, already lit as dusk settles on the landscape. Hear drums in a rhythmic beat from the marching bands. Smell the popcorn. Approach a line to enter the stadium and maneuver around packs of students or a group of parents socializing.
This year, the lights will remain on. The drums will still have a beat, but they won’t be as loud with just the home team’s band. The popcorn could depend on the school. The crowds shouldn’t be an issue: Unless you’re a parent or guardian reading this, chances are you won’t be at a football game this season.