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Fans return to Friday night football games, but some remain cautious

Fans were celebrating the return of high school football, but rising COVID-19 numbers remained at the front of some of their minds.

AVON, Ind. — For the first time in two years, football looks and feels a little more like it did before COVID-19.

But some fans still have concerns as the “summer surge” continues across central Indiana. On Friday, the first day of a new high school football season, Indiana reported more than 4,100 new COVID-19 cases. That’s the highest number since the beginning of the year. 

Even with high COVID-19 numbers, some schools, like Avon High School, have decided to get rid of COVID-19 restrictions at their football games. That didn’t stop some fans from protecting themselves and others. 

Avon football fans were excited to pack the stands to full capacity once again. Last season, seating was limited because of COVID-19 and fans were wearing masks. The only permanent COVID-19 change is ticketing this season is mostly digital. 

Freshman Josalyn Kikendall said this is how it should be. 

“It was a real bummer. It didn’t feel right having restrictions with the game, that’s not what it’s about. You’re supposed to be here all together watching the game. Not six feet apart, not talking to each other or anything," she said.

Credit: WTHR
Some fans wore masks to Avon High School's football game Friday night.

Football fan Crystal Vaughn shared Kikendall’s excitement.  

“I’m just glad to see the team back. We are glad to be able to come back to the game and just ready to have a good time,” said Vaughn. 

Although the school might be trying to get back to the pre-COVID days, Vaughn said she’s choosing to proceed with caution. That’s why she and her family brought their masks to the game and did their best to social distance. 

“Because the numbers are starting to rise again. We just want to make sure we keep ourselves safe and the kids safe. I have been vaccinated and my husband has been vaccinated, but our kids have not yet. So we just want to make sure we keep everyone safe, and we are not contributing to the rising numbers,” said Vaughn. 

Although Kikendall is excited to enjoy a normal football season, she’s taking her health in her own hands. 

“There’s a lot of concerns because COVID is still around. I came with a smaller group, and I hope to stay with them. I’m careful. I have hand sanitizer in my backpack. I try and stay safe every way possible,” she said.

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