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High School football fans elated to watch first game of the season

SR vs. MM: Fans sat on sidewalk to watch the game
Fans were not allowed to watch from the stands so they peered through a fence along the sidewalk.JPG
Posted at 9:04 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-13 09:29:22-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- The wait is over. High school football is back! Scripps Ranch High School Falcons fans were elated to see the student-athletes play after a year-long hiatus caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Fans of the Scripps Ranch High School football team were not allowed on the stands Friday, following strict COVID-19 protocols. They brought their lawn chairs and binoculars as they peered through the leaves and trees along the sidewalk on Scripps Ranch Blvd.

They were far from the action, but fans were overjoyed to watch the first game of the delayed and shortened football season against Mira Mesa High School.

"We're just happy that the boys are out there playing. They're just so happy," Tracy Gardinera said.

Gardinera is the wife of Scripps Ranch High School head coach, Marlon Gardinera. Their older son Nick is one of two local student-athletes who filed a lawsuit against the state to let them play, stating that if the professionals and collegiate athletes can play, so should they. The judge agreed, as long as each team found a way to have rigorous testing and COVID safety protocols. The Falcons were all tested on Wednesday and came back negative.

"They want to play more than they want to spread COVID or not be here, and so all these boys out here, at least for Scripps, are doing the right thing," Gardinera said.

Let's not forget about the cheer squad.

Dave Melusky was sitting on his lawn chair to support his daughter Emily, who, like the football players, have waited for this moment for more than a year.

"She's been cheering since she was five years old," Melsuky said. "This is her first varsity game. I mean, it kind of stinks that she's cheering in front of empty stands, but we're here, and we're all just happy to be here."

Fans said they would much rather leave the lawn chairs at home and sit in the stands. Some parents have started a petition with the hope of making that happen.

"It's not an option for us this week. Hopefully, next week. We have a lot of parents working hard to do that," Gardinera said.

"It kind of makes more sense," Melusky said. "I mean, look at all the people on the street and look at all the empty space in there [the stands]. They have to come up with something where they let in family or something."

For those who were uncomfortable watching from the sidewalk, there was a live stream available for the game.

Not all schools were able to kick off tonight. A game between Mission Hills and Grossmont High School was canceled due to positive Coronavirus tests.