MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Most of the high school football fields are sitting dark on this fall Friday night, but Friday Night Lights are on in Meriden. The two high schools in town played each other Friday evening.
The CIAC voted no high school football this fall, saying it was too high-risk with COVID. So the Meriden high school football players and coaches got together and started their own private non-school league.
Parent Blanca Castro told News 8, “They have been working hard for this all year, lifting weights in the summer, practices and social distancing, they deserve it!”
You might not recognize the team names, it’s Anthony Club versus the Meriden Spartans, but the players underneath the helmets are from the local high schools.
“Oh my God! My son is super excited,” parent Alberta Oduro said. “He loves football, he loves the game, he loves the team!”
Parent Richard Cotto said, “It’s his first game. This year, he is amped up, and he is ready for it! I can’t wait, it has been a long time coming, and we’re happy!”
The CIAC is opting for a special hybrid season in the spring. But the players and coaches in Meriden thought they could play football, and keep it safe.
“There are safe ways the NFL complete, why can’t the CIAC see what the kids play in high school, and find the safest way to play,” Parent Pedro Vega said. “There are splash guards and everything, eye protection, and everything. They will be safe.”
So the Meriden Board of Ed voted to allow the coaches and players to use school equipment in a private non-school league, as long as they assumed all liability.
Cotto said, “I’m just happy they were able to find a way to play this year. And even if they play again in the spring, that will be awesome. Twice the experience, twice the exposure, who’s going to complain about two different seasons!”
Yes, fans are allowed in the stadium to watch the game. They did their part to social distance keeping everyone as safe as possible while enjoying Friday Night Lights.