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High school football returns to Southwest Florida

Friday night was the first night student-athletes across the state were allowed to compete in games and competitions since the pandemic canceled many activities.

The Bishop Verot took on the Jesuit Tigers from Tampa but the game looked slightly different due to restrictions.

Players say, they’re excited to get back out there regardless. The parents are just as excited to watch.

“Super excited,” said Kristy Portu. Her son is a junior a Bishop Verot.

“I’m excited, I’m excited right now,” said Joanne  Cottrill, whose son plays for the tigers.

These parents couldn’t wait for this day to come. Where their kids got to get back to doing what they love.

“Oh, I knew we were going to have one,” said Thereasa McGriff laughing. “I just had that feeling, you know, I just kept praying and saying, you know, ‘hey, we need this’, you know?” Her grandson plays for Bishop Verot.

The typical Friday night crowd roar at a high school football game did not change, despite the stands being limited to 25% capacity. That made the parents watching feel safer.

“I think it looks really safe. Everyone is staying far apart. We’ve got our masks on. I mean, I think we’re all doing a good job. So are the coaches and players,” Cottrill added.

Others appreciated the openness of the school and the lengths they’re going to to protect student-athletes.

“We have meeting, and again, everybody’s spread out and keeping their distance,” Portu said. “But, you know, we’re still able to keep that communication going. And that’s important for the kids.”

McGriff told WINK News Anchor and Reporter Justin Kase that her grandson has committed to the University of Miami. So for him, it’s important to get out and enjoy his final season.

She believes everything will be okay.  “If everybody continues doing what they’re supposed to do… the distancing, wearing the masks, washing hands… it’ll be ok,” McGriff said.

District-wide Lee County is capping capacity at 25%. Over in Collier County, two people living with each student-athlete will be allowed in.

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Drew Hill
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