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Warren adds Sheffield football players

Warren County School District has been spending more time than usual on football.

Officials have been working on pandemic-related attendance restrictions and having to cancel the remainder of the season for one of the three programs, then offering players from that school an opportunity to continue playing.

Sheffield’s football season was called off two weeks ago when it appeared there would be no more than 17 players available for that week’s game.

A week later — Wednesday, Sept. 23 — the board approved a cooperative agreement that would allow Sheffield students to immediately join the Warren team.

Six Sheffield players were at the combined practice Monday, with the possibility of two more, according to Superintendent Amy Stewart.

Stewart said she was sent a picture of the latest additions to the team. “They have Dragons jerseys on and they’re ready to go,” she said.

Those Sheffield players join with players from two other district schools — Warren and Youngsville — in competing.

The Sheffield cheerleading squad has opted not to co-op with Warren, but wants to be able to be at the games to support the players, Stewart said.

The number of people who may attend games has also required attention.

The governor’s cap of 250 has been relaxed, but social distancing regulations remain in place.

“This week … we have a home contest at War Memorial Field,” Stewart said. “We’re looking at four tickets each — each band member, cheerleader, football player.”

Students who want to attend are being sent to what has typically been the visitors’ side of the field and some tickets will be available to visiting fans.

“We’re able to offer tickets to the Oil City team,” Stewart said. Doing so is “responsible.”

“We’re trying to do that wherever possible,” she said. “We really think we can get in there and still follow the rules of social distancing.”

Stewart attended last week’s home game at Eisenhower.

“I handed everybody a sheet of paper” with the rules and responsibilities, she said. “Everybody, with the exception of a couple of people, were very supportive.”

But circumstances at Eisenhower’s football field and War Memorial are different.

“At Eisenhower, the stands are not the majority of the seating,” Stewart said. “There is a lot of lawn.”

Workers from buildings and grounds services painted lines in that space that created family zones. Beyond that, young people had to be supervised and in those zones, and not playing among themselves.

At War Memorial, there is essentially no seating that is not in the bleachers.

The rules for indoor contests have also changed.

“Before the change in direction, they were limited to only 25,” Stewart said. “They couldn’t even bring in all their players or all their coaches. It was absolutely ridiculous.”

“We were able to implement rules that got all of the players inside, all of the coaching staff inside, and two parents per” player, she said. “I told the ADs, you have to be able to enforce the social distancing.

There will not be cheerleaders at indoor events.

“The cheerleaders are cheering for the football, but they are not going inside,” Stewart said.

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