Football fans are back in the stands

As COVID-19 restrictions are lightened, football fans are allowed back into the stadium to watch games. The return of spectators brings a boost of energy and morale to the players below.


Watching the game…Supporting the football team during the Homecoming game on October 8, (from left to right) junior Gabe Smola, 8th grader Amy Brown, and juniors Daniel Barndt, Amanda Hill, Kevin Hahn, and Shane Raab view the action from the edge of the bleachers. Fans returned this season after not being able to last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the return of an excited and energetic hometown crowd at football games, the team has received a boost in their morale on the field.

Football coach Ed Gallagher says that although most of the players just play because they like football, some of them enjoy the energy brought by the audience. 

“I’d say 80 percent of our players would play the same whether there were fans in the stadium or not, but there’s that 20 percent that really feeds off the energy of the crowd.” Gallagher said. “They kind of lift up the other players as well, so it definitely has an impact.”

Gallagher also says the students returning to the stands provided a boost to the team. “I think our players feed off the energy the students bring when there are fans in the stands,” Gallagher said. “It’s been a really good start to our home games so far.” 

In addition to providing a boost of morale to the team, according to football player Gabe Epps, it makes the games more fun. Epps says that the team gets about a month off from football, before going back into training and practices. “We want to win,” Epps said. “So being able to win in front of people that we know in front of friends that we have in front of our families, that’s really huge.”

Epps also said that while the players do not need the audience to play well, the cheering coming from the stands whenever the team does well or the opposing team messes up is encouraging. “You have the crowd on your side,” Epps said, “and that’s always a great feeling.”

Last year, the students on the football team were only permitted to bring two audience members per person, typically limited to family members. According to scoreboard keeper Phillip Cerami, it made security easier because “we didn’t have to worry about fans potentially going off onto the field.” 

However, the lack of people in the stadium also caused a lack of the typical excitement found at the school football games. “You missed the energy. I think it hurt the team as a whole.” Cerami said.

Fans of the games have also noticed a change as things begin to return to normal. Senior Jamison McDivitt records various sports games, including football. “I always like to capture the emotion of the players.” McDivitt said. “I feel like that’s a very important thing to get.” McDivitt says he started filming to provide the fans access to the games, even though they could not see them in person.

McDivitt also says that he thinks the return of the fans is good for the team. “I know the fans will pump all the players up and give them a little bit of a boost if they need it.” McDivitt said.