HANCEVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) – Thursday night kicked off the 2021 high school football season in Alabama.
After months of prep, teams and fans were ready.
“I love it. To me, it’s number one,” a Hanceville High fan told CBS 42.
Medical experts in the state have expressed concerns in recent weeks about large gatherings and crowds, especially with the Delta variant spreading rapidly among children.
In Hanceville, the Bulldogs took on the Vinemont Eagles at Ray Talley Stadium. Both coaches and fans believe the season can be safe for players and students. And in his first game as a head coach in high school, Hanceville High Head Coach Ryan Brewer is excited for Friday night lights.
“Man, I’m just excited. This is a great opportunity God has blessed me with and I can’t wait to take advantage of it,” Brewer said.
Besides gearing up for a new level of football, Coach Brewer has to make sure his players are healthy off the field. He says they are doing everything they can to make sure his players don’t catch COVID-19, especially with Cullman County being hit hard by the virus recently.
“It’s just monitoring how they feel everyday. And make sure that they’re well. We don’t want them here if they’re not well,” Brewer said.
“You know, I’ve got two friends in bad shape, you know. So, it’s a big problem now,” Vinemont fan Stanley Speakman said.
Speakman says his grandson plays on the team and never thought the pandemic would continue like this. He says his grandson has been pushing through both on and off the field in order to stay safe.
“He’s young. So, he stays at the gym and practices all the time. So, he’s good,” Speakman said.
Fans, for the most part, kept their distance at the Vinemont vs Hanceville game and were comfortable being there, too.
“I think outside it is. You know, inside is a little questionable, but outside you can spread out and be safe,” Speakman said.
And to make sure the season stays safe for players and fans, some in the crowd encourage people to do research and get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“You know, I’m not going to tell somebody what to do, but I thought it was very important. You know, I got it. My wife got it. My family got it. Trying to do everything we can to stay healthy,” fan Howard Bales said.
Because everyone wants to watch the great game of football with packed stands again.
“They love it. It gives them a chance to get out and watch their friends play. They love it,” Bales said.