New Orleans high school football players return to the field

High school football resumes in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - High school football in Orleans Parish returns with one of two scrimmages. The Holy Cross Tigers take on the De La Salle Cavaliers.

It is a different kind of night under these lights. Instead of hundreds of fans filling the seats at Tad Gormley Stadium, it’s capped at 250.

Parents watch on De La Salle and Holy Cross' football scrimmage while spread apart at Tad Gormley Stadium.
Parents watch on De La Salle and Holy Cross' football scrimmage while spread apart at Tad Gormley Stadium. (Source: WVUE)

Parents of both teams say to have their boys play, this season was almost unthinkable months ago.

“It was really bad in the beginning,” said parent Saconda Stewart-Rice. “Where we’ve come from since then, I’m very pleased with what’s happening; actually, to be able to come out and have some normality.”

Up until this week, schools were not allowed to let players practice or play contact sports. Monday, it changed, even though the Governor moved the rest of the state to phase three which allows contact sports.

Along with the announcement, the city leaders said the task force that was formed to decide how to proceed with contact sports, came up with a comprehensive set of protocols to reduce the risks of contracting COVID-19.

“We’ll be masked on the sidelines, on the field is optional,” said De La Salle Football Coach Ryan Manale. “We’re going to keep social distance measures as much as possible.”

Temperatures are taken of every spectator with tickets. Each school was given 125. It was a scrimmage game but if schools were to have marching bands or cheerleaders, they would have to be counted for the total amount.

This is partially why Coach Manale says he’s looking to see if playing elsewhere is an option.

“There’s different college venues that are offering their schools, where you can have a thousand people per team, that way everybody can go,” Coach Manale said. “So, we’re definitely exploring those options as well. And we’re going to wait and see what city park and the city does.”

In the meantime, parents say they are just happy their kids are getting to play.

“They need to experience that,” Stewart-Rice said. “They need to deal with that again, you know, so they can actually feel that things are normal. This is harder on them than it is on us.”

“It was looking gloom. You know, with COVID, the way it was running ramped through the united states, I didn’t think we’d play football for a while,” Clyde Alexander said. “It’s like a real blessing. A lot of these kids' football is an outlet for them.”

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