High School Football Kicks Off In New Jersey While Game Remains Tied Up In Court In New York

In the stands at Don Bosco Prep, fans were forced to social distance and wear face coverings because of the pandemic.

The sound of the whistle piercing across Don Bosco Prep‘s field in Ramsey is a sound many players playing under the Friday night lights thought they might not hear this year.

“We didn’t know if something was going to happen, if someone was going to get coronavirus and everything would be gone,” football player Matthew Loose said.

In the stands, fans were forced to social distance and wear face coverings because of the pandemic.

“It’s definitely different. We’re separated by two rows,” one fan said.

Even on the field, changes were made to keep those on the gridiron safe.

“We have sidelines that are running from 10 yard line to 10 yard line, so we can have the boys separated a little bit more,” Don Bosco athletic director Marcin Szorc said.

But not all schools got this opportunity.

RELATED STORY: New York Public High Schools Postpone Football, Volleyball And Cheer Until March

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called football a “high-risk” sport, which canceled the fall season.

Because of that, attorney James Mermigis filed a lawsuit against the governor on behalf of 20,000 parents and 14,000 football athletes.

“A lot of these kids are going to lose out on scholarship opportunities, which could equal $250,000 to $300,000 over four years, and a lot of these kids need these scholarships in order to attend college,” Mermigis said.

CBS2 reached out to the governor’s office for comment but have not heard back.

For now, parents and students in the Garden State are thankful to see football season take place, especially under unusual conditions.

“This is what they should be doing. This is how they should be remembering their high school years,” Washington Township parent Marcel Sirois said.

Don Bosco school officials also had two checkpoints set up for guests and fans to get their temperature checked before they went into the stadium.

They also celebrated Senior Night on Friday, just in case the pandemic gets worse.

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