Football is back as local teams shake off COVID-19’s impact

KSEE24 News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The excitement of football returned as Central Valley teams kicked off the season following the last year which was postponed and shortened by COVID-19.

Arron Hernandez played, coached, and was at Lamonica Stadium to cheer on his nephew Friday night.

“I’m glad to see bigger crowds. I’m glad that we don’t have to stay so far away because the energy from the game comes from the crowd, and when you have a full crowd it’s an amazing feeling to be a part of it,” he said.

Nicole Howard’s husband teaches at Clovis East. She grew up going to games and is now passing on the tradition.

“Being able to bring the kids to an actual game that is at full capacity and run like a normal year is really exciting for the kids to see,” she said.

Jeanna Mckenzie and Mark Woodley were at the game for Woodley’s son. They said last year COVID-19 cut the season to just five games. They’re taking steps to keep it from happening again.

“We’re vaccinated and we have our masks and sanitizer,” Mckenzie said.

But they are expecting it will be cut short once more, and don’t know how many games they will have this year.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health said from mid-June to mid-August, new COVID-19 cases rose from two per 100,000 to more than 30 per 100,000. In the last two weeks, they confirmed hundreds of cases in children under 19.

Howard said they are being mindful and hope for everyone’s sake they get a full season.

“Clovis Unified is doing a really good job of trying to be as cautious as possible and you know it’s one of those things where we are careful with our kids, but I don’t want them to miss out on these opportunities. So it’s just one of those things being as careful as possible,” she said.

Fresno County Department of Public Health is monitoring the athletic activities of students. Officials say they continue to work with them on best practices to stay as safe as possible.

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