If plans remain in place, the size of the crowd at the Saturday afternoon Nov. 6 all-Arlington high-school football game between the host Yorktown Patriots and Washington-Liberty Generals could be smaller than usual.
Yorktown school leaders have decreed there will be no general public ticket sales for the event the night of the game. Participating students – on the football teams, the cheerleading squad and the band – will be allotted tickets to distribute to friends and family, while other students from both schools have been given the opportunity of purchasing a single ticket.
“Admission to this event for both W-L and Yorktown will be limited to reflect the capacity and supervision restraints of our facility,” Yorktown officials said in a letter to parents in response to complaints about the policy.
In response to an inquiry, county school officials told the Sun Gazette there is concern regarding unsportsmanlike events that occurred during past games, including this season’s homecoming contest at Yorktown. Due to the sensitivity of the situation, they opted to not speak on the record but did provide background information.
Concerns about the possibility of out-of-control crowds date back to a 2019 Friday-night football contest between Yorktown and Washington-Liberty, when students from each large student section charged the field, meeting in the middle. Some pushing and shoving occurred before the groups were separated by faculty members.
The incident concerned administrators from both schools enough to switch future games between the teams to Saturday afternoons, hoping to avoid such future situations because of the daylight and possibly smaller crowds.
In addition, boys varsity basketball games that following winter season between Yorktown and W-L were changed from Friday to Thursday nights in hopes of limiting crowd size. Crowds still came in large numbers.
This Friday’s football contest between the two schools will serve as “senior night” for Yorktown, and parents of players, cheerleaders and band members voiced concern that some family members will be refused entry due to the restrictions.
“The school is unnecessarily restricting attendance of public school activities, failing to be transparent about its reasons, and intruding on the privacy of Yorktown families – all to the detriment of the students for whom the school and its activities exist, and in particular the seniors who will be honored at the game,” a number of parents said in a letter to Yorktown’s principal, Kevin Clark.
Last season’s football game between Yorktown and W-L, held at Yorktown, was limited to very few spectators because of COVID restrictions.