Since 1977, The Big Game has been a celebrated community event. This year, for the varsity Northview versus Southview football game, as with all the athletic events for Sylvania since COVID 19 struck, the show will go on but it will have a whole new look.
"We do all ticket sales online, and there will only be 405 tickets sold. 170 for Southview, 235 for Northview," explained Sylvania Northview Athletic Director Chris Irwin. "Families of athletes can purchase online until Thursday night at 11:59 p.m. After that, any tickets left are available to the general public."
2014 photo shows how students normally attend the NV/SV game, typically held near Halloween.
The Thursday night band performance has been posted to YouTube,
video credit Anthony Galati
This has been the new ticket procedure for the fall 2020 season.
"When we go on the road, we only get two tickets per family. At home, because the band’s not performing at halftime and we haven’t had band parents, we’ve at least been able to give our families three tickets. The problem is our stadium is so little," continued Irwin. "When we go to Perrysburg, we’ll be able to get more tickets because their stadium is a lot bigger."
The Northview-Southview game is usually the last game of the season and played around Halloween, with students often dressing in costume. This year it will be played on Friday October 2, and the bands from both schools will perform the night before at Memorial Field instead of in the stadium.
The football game will be broadcast live at www.wsyl.fm, fans can listen for free, pregame starts at 6:30 p.m. on game night. The game will also be broadcast on BCSN, with the Buckeye Broadband app. The BCSN website states that those who are not Buckeye Broadband subscribers can also view the game, for a fee of $11.99 for one viewing with net proceeds going to the home team.
The rivalry game is a Northview home game this year, and although Southview's stadium is much larger, Irwin explained that the game could not be relocated because it would cause problems with the home game/away game scheduling for both schools. Irwin also explained that the band has been performing before the game since the season began to allow for more room in the stands.
"What the band has been doing is a little unique," said Irwin. "There are 200 people in the band. And then we have, between cheer and football players, another 75. So you have 275, and we can only sell 235 home tickets because of COVID distancing guidelines, and not even every family would get a ticket. So the band has performing at 6:00 at the bottom of the hill. Their families come out, they put down a blanket, the band has a food truck or two come, like at 4:30 or 5:00. So they come and get dinner, sit socially-distanced on the hill, and the band performs their show down there for their families. They they march over and do the pregame, the alma mater and the national anthem, and then they leave."
For the 2020 Northview-Southview football game, the bands from both schools will be putting on a special performance Thursday October 1 at Memorial Field, at 6:30 p.m. Attendees are advised of heavy traffic congestion, encouraged to listen from inside their cars, and also reminded to wear masks and social distance if not inside a vehicle. The football game itself will be played the following night at Northview High School.
"It looks a lot different this year," Irwin admitted, "We don't have a powder puff game either, or a bonfire. And of course no tailgate event before the game."
The schools usually also have a parade for Homecoming, but there is no Homecoming this year. In addition, the season ends early and state tournaments begin mid-October.
"The kids, once they get in the game, they are in the game. And the cheerleaders are doing a good job cheering. And the soccer kids too," Irwin said of the moral and spirit being shown by the athletes. "I think we’re getting to the point where we are kind of understanding that this is the new norm right now. And I think they’re just happy to be playing. There was a thought that we weren't going to able to play. We’re playing games, and that’s the good part. And at 15% we can at least get parents in."
Irwin said the coaches were also keeping up their spirits.
"Well, its about working with kids. No matter what my limitations are, it's how we impact the kids. The wins and loss are part of that, but its more about relationships," Irwin said. "This is an opportunity, but coaching is a little different these days, that's for sure."
Irwin also said that, surprisingly, the recruiting for fall sports has been a bright spot. With most college programs on hiatus, a higher number of college coaches have been coming to see and meet the high school athletes in person, and it's been beneficial for the relationship aspect of recruiting.
There was also one other bright spot Irwin mentioned about the 2020 schedule for football.
"At least we will probably have warmer weather," Irwin said. "That last game is usually freezing."
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