Alabama high schools fight COVID-19 challenges during football season

Local News

LOCUST FORK, Ala. (WIAT) — For the second time this season, COVID-19 is impacting the Locust Fork High School Hornets’ homecoming game. However, the school is still planning to allow students and their families a chance to have some safe fun.

“We’ll still have our homecoming court at halftime, we have a list of activities to do beforehand, featuring our band,” said Locust Fork High School Principal Tommy Smitherman.

Earlier this season, the team was forced to forfeit two games because of the virus. Now, this Friday’s opponent is canceling the season due to COVID-19.

Smitherman tried to find another school to play, but did not have any luck.

“We’ve called people from four hours away to get them to try to come here or to play a game and it just really hasn’t worked, so our coaches, came up with a great idea to do a green and white game,” said Smitherman.

In a shorter season, families have had fewer opportunities to see their loved ones on the field.

“My son was one of them that tested positive for COVID, so he had to be here at his house, in his room for two weeks and it takes a toll,” said Tammy Holt, who has a son on the team.

For the seniors, final moments on the home field and in front of a crowd are special moments that won’t come again.

“I think it is important because these kids work so hard, they put their heart and soul into everything they do, and just like the homecoming and getting together all those nights and making sure their float is just perfect,” said Melissa Boshell, another parent.

Boshell believes it’s important that students have some sort of normalcy, as long as it is safe. She’s happy that Smitherman is still allowing the scrimmage between older and younger players this Friday.

“He is very proactive and in this time with COVID, he and his staff have just gone above and beyond to think of the kids and try to keep everything as normal as they can,” said Boshell.

Despite the challenges, Smitherman said students have remained positive.

“Obviously playing each other is not what we want to do, but it will be the closest thing we do to putting a football game in for our kids, and our band members and cheerleaders Friday night,” Smitherman said.

The Hornets are hopeful to play an opponent again this year. For now, family members will cherish any moments from a season that won’t be forgotten.

“The fact that they go above and beyond for these kids means so much to me. This is not the senior year that we all thought it would be,” said Holt.

This week’s Homecoming festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Locust Fork High School. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

“Football Friday nights in Locust Fork, Alabama is important,” Smitherman said. “The school is the community and vice versa, you know, you don’t have one without the other.”


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