Alton Rivals Edwardsville in First Game of Football Season

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Tim Johnson

Members of the football team sprint down the field during practice at Alton public school stadium.

Ja'bien Winn, Reporter

When football players played their last home game in the fall of 2019, no one ever imagined that they would never take the field in 2020.

Now, after a serious delay due to Covid-19, players will once again take the field this Friday at the public school stadium on the grounds of West Elementary. “I’m grateful to be able to get to play this year,” senior running back Tim Johnson said. 

That feeling of Friday night lights at the football game won’t be quite the same for this season though. While most football players are use to bleachers packed with fans watching them play, this year will be different. “We will only be able to have a certain amount of spectators at the football games,” Athletic Director Chris Kusnerick said.

Each football player will receive four tickets to share with family and friends. Cheerleaders will also receive tickets for spectators. This policy applies to both home and away games. No tickets will be sold to fans at the gate. Spectators are expected to comply with all safety procedures currently in place, including wearing masks.

Johnson said a lack of cheering fans can often affect the intensity of the game. “I hate that we can’t have bleachers full of fans, because that makes me play better sometimes,” he added. Johnson also said the team has been practicing since early March and fully intends to give it their all in Friday night’s game against longtime rivals the Edwardsville Tigers.

While most students, staff and community members will not be able to physically attend the game, viewers can still cheer on the Redbirds via the livestream on Riverbender.com at http://www.riverbender.com/video/live/details.cfm?id=1200. Fans can also host a small watch party, with proper safety precautions, for family and friends or create a virtual watch party on a social media site. Let’s go Redbirds!