Return Of Friday Night Lights With COVID-19 Precautions

Friday night lights bring life back to football fields across the Sacramento region.

Video Transcript

- Our other top story tonight, the return of Friday Night Lights. High school football teams taking to the field for the first time in more than a year now, playing with COVID safety rules in full force.

- And those games happening as businesses across northern California get ready to reopen. More COVID restrictions are coming undone this weekend, as California creeps toward normalcy.

- CBS 13's Anna Giles is live at Oakmont High School in Roseville tonight, where football was about much more than a game tonight. Anna?

ANNA GILES: Yeah, the enthusiasm was electric tonight. This stadium hasn't seen any coaches, players, or fans for a year. So tonight's game was also very emotional.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

The cheers, the plays, the whistle after a job well done.

- Hike!

ANNA GILES: High school football is back, just in time for some who say it's their last chance.

HAYDEN ABBRUZZESE: It's like Christmas. It's like the greatest feeling ever. Like, I get to be back on the field. It's my last year, I'm a senior.

ANNA GILES: Out here, the light at the end of the tunnel is full of cheers.

[CHEERING]

The hope also brings happy tears. The last time these players were out on the field was fall 2019.

PAUL MINTMEIR: Look at the hair standing up on my arms right now. I'm so excited to be out here.

[MUSIC - "THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER"]

ANNA GILES: Paul Mintmeir's son plays for the Oakmont High School varsity football team. But tonight, this game was his moment too.

PAUL MINTMEIR: Because you remember growing up, and how important all this stuff is to you, and the camaraderie.

ANNA GILES: Getting to this point was a path filled with twists, turns, and take downs.

[CHEERING]

Oakmont cheerleading coach, Erica Morrell and her girls were ready for this day.

ERICA MORRELL: Every week, we were here twice a week to practice. Just in case they said we can go, we were ready.

- Let's get ready!

ANNA GILES: But at the last minute, they got told they would not be allowed at the game, a moment that came with tears, but also determination. Erica rallied the parents, and convinced school administrators it was safe, and COVID protocols were being followed.

ERICA MORRELL: These kids work so hard. I have 18 seniors this year. And to take that away from them is not fair.

ANNA GILES: Everyone wants to be part of it. After all the Zoom classes, social distancing, and isolation, the Friday Night Lights give new life.

[CHEERING]

Yeah, are so much more than just a game tonight. And everything was within safety rules. The coaches and the players wearing masks. The players are also routinely tested for COVID-19.