Southwest Virginia parents, athletic officials excited for return of high school football

High School Sports

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Cave Spring and Pulaski County High Schools are two of several schools in the southwest Virginia region that kicked off their football season on Monday.

“I’m feeling good. [I’m] glad football’s back,” said Chris Hall, a Cave Spring High School parent.

Just before 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22, spectators were seen seated in the bleachers and student-athletes were seen warming up on the field.

It was a sight parents were hoping for since last fall, especially for their seniors.

“It’s really exciting because my son Cooper is a senior this year and six months ago, we thought that this probably wouldn’t happen,” said Cherish Dunnigan, a Pulaski County High School parent. “I’m really grateful that he’s able to play and that we’re able to have a little bit of normalcy in a year that has not been normal at all.”

For Cave Spring Athletic Director John Hartness, the school year has had it’s challenges.

“There’s a lot that goes into playing high school sports, you know? You have to get officials lined up. They have their job. Then you have transportation,” Hartness said.

Originally, the Roanoke County School Board decided to have their high schools play a county-only schedule.

Last week, board members changed their minds to have the Roanoke County high school teams compete with schools outside the county.

“It’s kind of been back and forth, and [I] really had to rush to do a lot of things in a short period of time,” said Hartness.

With a new season comes new rules, including a 250-person limit and social distancing.

Roanoke County officials are also asking people to keep face masks on at all times, but they know it may be a hassle for some.

“We can’t really enforce the mask rule,” Hartness said, “but we’re going to just remind people with announcements to be courteous of others around them.”

Parents say they’re hopeful for what the season may bring.

“I’m hoping to have a great season. You know, it’s one game at a time,” said Hall.

And that all sports matter.

“Sports, it’s a part of a lot of kid’s lives, and without it, I think kids suffer,” Dunnigan said.

Pulaski County High School beat Cave Spring High School 49 to 0.

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