WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — High school football kicked off Thursday night with a big rivalry match-up between Wichita Northwest and Bishop Carroll. Unlike last year, there was no seating capacity for fans and no mask mandate.
Fans were packing out the stands and lining the fence around the stadium. Both athletic directors say it was nice to get back to some sense of normalcy.
“Everybody is excited to be here. It’s finally a return to football,” explained Tyler Fraizer, Bishop Carroll athletic director. “We’re going to have some fans in the stands tonight, a little different from last year.”
The game was also a welcome sight for fans.
“It feels really nice because with COVID and everything. We weren’t allowed to have this last year. But it feels really good to be here and to see all of these people,” said Morgan Sirmans, Wichita Northwest senior.”
USD 259’s mask mandate only requires masks at indoor events. Therefore, Thursday night was the first no capacity, no mask football game for Wichita Northwest since 2019.
“I’m leaving the student section right now. I don’t know how safe it is, but it’s a lot of fun to be back here. You can tell everyone has been missing this,” said Leo Larson, Wichita Northwest senior added.
When it comes to the teams staying safe, Wichita Northwest’s athletic director, Lance Deckinger, believes the lessons learned from last year will help this football season.
“Our teams were disinfecting things after practice, coaches are wearing masks, so we’re really using the things we learned last year, and it’s helping us stay healthy this year,” he explained.