Season opener for new protocols

Junior Drew Settle taking the snap next to junior Derrick Miller

Last Friday, the Panthers had their first kickoff of the year in Panther stadium. While the winning tradition stayed the same for players, it was a very different experience for spectators. Tickets for the games are now being pre-sold rather than sold at the ticket booth in an effort to keep track of the number of visitors, and tickets are checked as visitors pull onto school property. Fans pass through a temperature check as they enter the gates of the stadium and walk to find their socially distanced seats in the stands. 

Throughout the game, spectators are required to keep their masks on, all in an effort to keep everyone safe. 

The shift from packed stands to socially-distanced groups of family and friends was unusual. The student section turned into the “Hill Gang,” and the band relinquished their spot in the stands for one on the sideline. All around the stadium, changes were visible. 

Despite these many changes, the energy in the stadium was still as palpable as ever. Their limited number didn’t keep fans from cheering on the Panthers as loud as they could. Cheerleaders were still on the sidelines, keeping the crowd energetic.Most importantly, however, the Panthers were still on the field, playing their hardest and winning games. 

There may still be more changes to come to keep spectators as safe as possible, but for now, Panther stadium will still be lit up and full of fans on Friday nights.