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Local high school football teams put COVID-19 precautions in place to continue season

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 10:21 AM CDT
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MAIZE, Kan. (KWCH) - Friday night lights are back – at least for some teams.

The coronavirus has cancelled high school football games for several teams across Kansas - but some, like Maize High and Newton, get to continue their season Friday night.

For Newton, the kids on the field are learning new plays for the game and new rules to curb the spread of COVID-19.

William Simpson comes to Newton High School’s practices to watch his grandson and the rest of the team prepare for Fridays.

“They need the competition,” Simpson said. “They need to be around other students who their age.”

If a teammate makes a good play, no fist bumps high fives allowed.

“We don’t make contact with each other, so, we have to be vocal with our encouragement instead of physical,” Newton High senior Braiden Botterweck said.

Water bottles and gear on the sidelines are spaced apart.

If players aren’t wearing a helmet with a face shield - they’re wearing a mask.

Equipment and uniforms are cleaned every day.

The team’s captains encouraged all players to make healthy decisions outside of school and practice.

“Some teams might take it less seriously than others,” Newton High Head Football Coach Chris Jaax said. “And it’s funny, like the responses from the kids is like, ‘Well, that’s the way to lose your season if you don’t take it very seriously.’”

Newton’s head coach said one thing few people get to see - is the leadership.

“They were doing things to improve and grow and that they were organizing some sort of like idea of what they wanted to be at that point in time, and so I was really proud of our senior class,” Jaax said. “I think they really did a great job with the circumstances that they found themselves in, and I think that they grew a lot as leaders.”

Coaches and fans both said these players are doing everything they can to keep playing.

“When everything is going wrong, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Maize High School also has those protections in place for their fans, players and students.

At games, Maize is capping capacity at 25% at their stadium – so fans need a ticket to get in.

Maize and Newton are set to kick off at Maize High at 7 p.m. Friday.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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