JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Nine days from tonight, high school football teams in Northeast Tennessee are set to play their first game of the season.
“Let’s hope everything stays as is and we can still get our game in on the 21st so we’re gonna do everything we can,” Elizabethton High School athletic director Forrest Holt said.
Schools are still finalizing guidelines for restricting attendance at their home games. A game to keep an eye on: Science Hill at Elizabethton.
“We re-did the seating chart to social distance we also did a seating chart for the visiting side bleachers as well, every seat will be assigned,” Holt said.
Holt said the priority for their tickets will go to the players’ families. Four tickets are allotted for each Cyclone player and two for each Hilltopper/visiting team’s player.
“We would have no more than around probably 1,300 people in there in seats,” Holt said.
Another huge game next Friday: Dobyns-Bennett at Tennessee High. Vikings athletic director Barry Wade told News Channel 11 they are working on finalizing their fan guidelines for the Stone Castle, and will look to publicize them soon.
For other schools, it’s not that simple. COVID-19 hit the Sullivan South football community earlier this month. Due to a team-wide quarantine, the Rebels will not be ready to play their Week 1 game against Daniel Boone. Boone is now searching for a new opponent.
Daniel Boone athletic director Danny Good confirmed that when they do play their home games, they will restrict attendance to 1,200 tickets with around 300 going to the general public.
Sullivan South confirmed they will be ready for their Week 2 game at Cherokee. When they do play their home games, they plan to allow 50% capacity at “Death Valley,” selling around 4,000 tickets.
A different challenge presented itself at Volunteer High School. The new turf being installed at its football stadium will not be ready in time for Week 1, so they will play their opening game at a different location. Athletic director Jeremy Bailey is working on other options but Volunteer’s plan for home games is already in place.
“In-between 1/3 and 1/2 depending on what the number are at that specific time I know half capacity puts us at around 1,500,” Bailey said.
At every school, cooperation from fans will be essential when game time rolls around.
“The ticket holders and people that come in, we need their help we need them to follow the rules if we have any chance of continuing to have a season and continuing to have spectators it’s up to them as well to help us out and follow those guidelines,” Holt said.