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Columbia Public Schools limit football teams to one spectator per participant


Columbia Public Schools is moving forward with its high school football season, but there are new restrictions for fans and players.

Fan attendance will be very limited.

CPS said it will give players one "player card," to give to a guest of their choosing. The guest will be the only spectator allowed for each player.

There will be no general admission to games, so anyone hoping attend must have player card to buy a ticket.

Rock Bridge football coach Van Vannata said no matter how fans are there, he has had one goal all along.

"My main focus was to get them on this field tonight, get this step done, and the move on from there," he said. "For me, I don't really care who's watching me. I know my wife loves to be there and my family, but, in the same sense, I feel more for the kids."

Once inside the game, fans for both the visiting and home teams must enter and exit through separate, marked entrances.

The district added that face coverings are required when using the restroom or if social distancing is not possible.

Schools said they will mark the bleachers, so fans can maintain six feet of distance.

Concession stands will be closed, but there will be public bathrooms available. However, there will be separate bathrooms for the visiting and home team spectators.

There are CPS football games set to kickoff on Friday night.

  • Battle vs. Fort Zumwalt
  • Hickman vs. Francis Howell
  • Rock Bridge vs. Staley

Vannata said no matter what the circumstances, he remains optimistic.

"My cup is always half full, it's never half empty," he said. "I'm an optimist, not a pessimist."

As cases in Columbia continually rise, the fate of high school football hangs in the balance.

Vannata said he will still continue with a positive attitude.

"I think we can keep moving forward," he said. "I have friends coaching all over the country and we're actually fortunate that we start earlier than most, because most teams start after Labor Day. I'm being positive here. I think if we can get through this, then I think we can go. I believe it's going to happen, unless it breaks out amongst us, I think we can keep moving forward."

But what it all boils down to is football.

"I hope we're going to pitch a shutout and score 50, but it's one of those things that we've been preparing for them," Vannata said.

High School Football / High School Sports / SportsZone Football Friday
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Nathalie Jones

Nathalie reports on both news and sports for ABC17. She started working at the station in June 2020.


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