The Cedar Cliff Football players are pushing for their third consecutive division championship in the midst of a global pandemic. Changes are being made week by week when it comes to the ban on the West Shore Stadium, leaving players, parents, and fans wondering how their 20-21 season will be affected.
With an original spectator ban of 250 people in the stadium, two tickets were given to each player for each game. A few weeks later, the ban was pushed to a percentage of the maximum occupancy, each player receiving four tickets.
While all the players are having mixed feelings about the situation, seniors are having the hardest time with the ban. The 2020 season is their last year of high school football. This is their last year to hear the roar of the Golden Corral and the cheers of the crowd, and to have the support of their parents in the stands.
Senior Captain Seth Gillen is one of the many seniors feeling the effects of the chaos from the pandemic. Seth started playing football in the third grade, a lengthy history in the sport that means the entire world to him.
When asked about the possibility of his season being cancelled, he answered, “I was just praying that I was going to get some sort of a senior season. I was grateful that we were going to be playing but no spectators was going to feel different.” However, Seth acknowledges that the players must bring their own energy all season long.
After high school, Seth plans to continue his athletic and academic careers at one of three schools: Randolph-Macon, Millersville, or Seton Hill. Although the scouting is limited due to the spectator ban, Seth, thankfully, visited the schools prior to the start of his final season.
While seniors like Seth Gillen do not plan on this being their last season of football, some seniors feel that they have no future in the sport.
Dylan Mockaitis has been playing football for the past twelve years of his life. The sport means everything to him and will always be a huge part of his life. Football has shown him discipline and how to commit to the team environment. He does not plan to continue with football in college, looking to pursue a career as a sports trainer.
When asked about the news of the spectator ban, Dylan described the Golden Corral as a “twelfth man on the field.” He also acknowledged the impact of the student section and the energy they bring to the stadium week after week.
Both Seth and Dylan have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions so far this season, but continue to reminisce about their past seasons together. Answering exactly the same when asked what their favorite memory from high school football was, beating McDevitt with a 21-point comeback was both of their answers.
With two different ideas of their futures, the same goal is shared between the two. Enjoying their final season is crucial, with or without the fans to show their support.