EL DORADO—For five months, it’s something every player and coach had hoped would happen. It did happen on Monday evening at respected high schools from around the state.


This week was the official start of high school athletics fall season.


Five months and six days since the cancellation of high school sports in March have led to this moment. Coaches around the state have been taking the extra precautions all summer to make sure their players are safe in hopes of being able to play on Friday nights.


"You know, we had pretty tight restrictions all summer," El Dorado Head Coach Wes Bell said. "I think for our guys it’s becoming second nature."


With the start of high school athletics, it appeared to be a little different. Players regulated players to spread out in El Dorado, forcing "split" sized gaps, which is approximately three yards, or nine feet, from one another.


"Our players are a little older than last year and it’s showing through their accountability," Bell said.


In Augusta, players were told hats on or masks on. There was no option as the coaching staff quickly kept players in line. It’s something they had done all summer. Players are buying in and understand what is at stake.


"We’re the luckiest kids in the state," Augusta coach Jason Filbeck said. "We’re still going to get play football."


Questions remain about how COVID-19 will affect the high school fall sports season and how and if there will be games. KSHSAA has stated over and over their intent to have games played. They are leaving it up to the counties to make the best decisions for their districts.


In Wyandotte County and in Kansas City, there will be no athletics in the fall, due to the large number of outbreaks in that area. Coaches in Ford County are still working to address how to handle the situation in their own neck of the woods where COVID-19 clusters once reigned but seem to have subsided.


"We just want to hopefully play our games," Bell said. "Our guys understand what we have to do to get there."