By Ray Hamill — H-DNL fans were handed some bad news ahead of this weekend’s season-opening football games, when it was announced that the state will allow only one spectator per player to attend.
The H-DNL had been planning on allowing four immediate family members per player at each game.
It was also announced this week that sideline cheer squads and school bands are now prohibited from attending.
“It’s super disheartening,” Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow said of the news. “I’m very, very fired up about it, but there’s not a lot we can do. We have to follow what the state says.”
Many of the local cheerleading squads have been practicing for three weeks under the assumption they would be allowed on the sidelines.
There is an online petition started to reverse the decision, which can be accessed here.
“How can you tell a football player he can play football but a cheerleader can’t stand on the same sideline,” St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin said. “I just don’t feel that’s right. In my opinion that’s not fair.”
There are three local varsity football games scheduled for this weekend, including Ferndale at St. Bernard’s on Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., and Fortuna at McKinleyville on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
With the news coming the day before the season opener, St. Bernard’s and Ferndale have agreed to still allow four spectators from a player’s immediate household to attend on Friday.
“We don’t feel it’s right to do that to a parent the day before the game,” Tomlin said.
Both of Friday’s games will be broadcast live on Mix 95.1 FM for fans unable to attend.
The game at St. Bernard’s will also be streamed live on YouTube, while Benbow says the Huskies are working hard on trying to stream their game.
The St. Bernard’s and Ferndale game can be accessed on YouTube by searching “Luke Omey.”