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Following Wolf's new limits, tickets to Central's title game halved

Rob Rose
York Dispatch

Central York will make history this weekend as the first York County team to play for a football state title, but there won't be many people there to see it happen.

On Tuesday, PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi emailed the 12 schools playing in state championship games in Hershey this weekend and stated that each district will have just 386 tickets to sell for their respective games, according to PIAA assistant director Melissa Mertz.

The tighter crowd limits came a day after Gov. Tom Wolf imposed new restrictions that, among other things, limited outdoor and indoor gatherings. As a result, Hersheypark Stadium is subject to the restrictions, and the schools will be limited to mostly parents of the athletes and a few fans.

Central York athletic director Marty Trimmer said Tuesday in an email that if the capacity was limited, then the school would not bring its band but cheerleaders would be at the game.

Central York High Schools fans cheer in the stands as they watch the Panthers play McDowell High. For this Saturday's state title game, Central York and the other 11 schools playing in Hershey this weekend will be limited to 386 tickets for fans.

The football team already has trimmed down its travel roster, and parents will be given access to tickets first and, if any are still available, admission passes to Saturday's 8 p.m. contest against St. Joseph's Prep will be offered to the public on Thursday morning online.

Originally, schools had prepared to receive between 800 and 1,000 tickets for each team in all six games over the weekend, but that number has been cut by more than half because of the latest restrictions.

Last month, Wolf lightened the restrictions on outdoor gathering and allowed venues to permit percentages of capacity, but those were revised Monday as record numbers of new COVID-19 cases are set weekly.

This is not the first time an update from Wolf has derailed the PIAA's plans. When the governor was asked in August about allowing more spectators at games so parents could attend, Wolf responded by recommending that no youth sports be played until Jan. 1, 2021.

Central York vs Central Dauphin during District 3, Class 6A semifinal action at George Ebersole Stadium in Harrisburg, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Central York would win the game 42-15. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The PIAA was forced into emergency meetings and eventually decided to play the fall seasons after a two-week delay. 

Last week, Wolf threw another obstacle at the PIAA when he said — just days before state championship games were to be played — that all athletes on or off the field were required to wear masks at all times. Schools were told to consult their solicitors about how to proceed with wearing masks during competition.

The updated restrictions come after the state Health Department reported 559 new COVID-19 cases in York County on Sunday, double the previous record. On Tuesday, York County had two new deaths linked to COVID-19 and 223 more cases.

The new mandate from Wolf and other governors across the country are a result of increased COVID cases and deaths in the thousands each week.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.