Homedale vs. Timberlake

Homedale’s Milo Mertz (3) takes the ball away from a Timberlake wide receiver for an interception during a 3A state semifinal game on Nov. 16, 2019.

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More than five month after high school sports in the Treasure Valley stopped abruptly, completion returns to local fields.

The high school football season gets underway this weekend, with Homedale hosting Emmett at 7 tonight for the first game in the area since the pandemic shut down the springs sports season in March just weeks into its opening.

Nine more games are scheduled for Friday evening, with Fruitland hosting Melba, Kuna hosting Lewiston, Marsing hosting Valley, Parma hosting New Plymouth, Vallivue hosting Twin Falls, Weiser hosting Buhl, Wilder hosting Horseshoe Bend, Greenleaf Friends hosting Rimrock and Nampa Christian traveling to Wendell. All games are scheduled to kickoff at 7.

For most of the games, fans will be allowed into the stands to watch, with social distancing and facemasks being encouraged. However, as much of the Treasure Valley remains in the Red Health Alert level — indicating more than five new cases of COVID-19 per 10,000 people each day or other high risks to the community — three schools in particular have placed even further restrictions as to who is allowed inside the stadium.

The toughest restrictions come from Kuna High, which will not allow any spectators inside the stadium for its game on Friday, with only “essential staff” being allowed in. Initially the Kuna School District had said credentialed members of the media were “non-essential” and would not be permitted into its athletic events, but changed course on Tuesday afternoon. For those not allowed inside the stadium, games will be streamed via the Pixellot app. It is unclear if these streams will be posted on the Kuna High website or on its social media pages.

Vallivue is also limiting the fans it will allow inside the stadium, with each player, band member and cheerleader given four tickets for family members, with the ability to request up to two more. Twin Falls will get 150 tickets total. As of Wednesday morning, Vallivue athletic director Tony Brulotte didn’t know exactly what the attendance limit would be capped at, but said it would be less than 50 percent of the stadium’s capacity.

Wilder will also be limiting fans inside the stadium for its game against Horseshoe Bend to family members of the seniors from both teams. Other fans will be able to watch from the parking lot or the tailgating area on the baseball field next to the stadium, but are encouraged to stay in their parking areas, either watching from their car or their tailgates.

John Wustrow is the assistant sports editor of the Idaho Press. He is a Michigan native and a graduate of Indiana University.

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