WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The very first game of a very different high school football season in western Massachusetts due to the pandemic kicked off Friday as West Springfield hosted East Longmeadow.
The Terriers took the game 42-14, but the biggest win tonight were the seniors being able to have a home game before they graduate.
Both teams were happy to play tonight win or lose and while it wasn't your typical Friday night game under the lights, the players were just glad to be on the field.
The sound of high school football is something that hasn't happened on West Springfield’s field since fall 2019. The 92-yard kick-off return that led to a touchdown is something East Longmeadow senior Nico Mongeon has been waiting for.
“It feels awesome, especially since it’s my senior year. One less chance to be out here,” Mongeon explained.
The fans - the few allowed to attend - were happy to see the Terriers back in action.
“It feels great, a little bit of normalcy. It’s good to see all the kids getting out having fun,” said Ben Paquette.
Rebecca Ragan, whose daughter is on the cheerleading squad, added, “It’s amazing. It’s kind of weird though because it's so empty here. It does feel real, like surreal kind of.”
The weirdness Ragan is talking about are the restrictions put in place to watch the game.
For Friday’s game to happen, everyone had to be wearing a mask and no gaiters were allowed. No visiting team fans were allowed either.
In addition, locker rooms were closed, but the restrooms were available at Clark Field and the press box was limited to only West Springfield High School athletic staff.
West Springfield senior quarterback Ryan Russell had a big game day. He even scored a touchdown with a QB sneak. He told his teammates to make the best of what they have left.
“It was great, ya know. We only got one more of these left and I’m a senior, so like I was telling all these guys, it’s one of our last chances to be out here and stuff. Take the opportunity and go run with it. You know what I mean?” Russell explained.
Both East Longmeadow and West Springfield will have a shorter season than a normal high school football season, but these senior athletes are ready to make the most of it.