EDITORIAL: Best of luck, Central York

York Dispatch editorial board

It should go without saying that Central York High’s football players deserve better.

In normal times, we expect Yorkers from all corners of the county would trek to Hersheypark Stadium to watch the Panthers’ history-making state title match Saturday against St. Joseph's Prep.

After all, this is the furthest any York County high school football team has ever advanced in post-season play.

More:Central York advances to PIAA 6-A title game with 37-21 victory over McDowell

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

More:As York County smashes COVID-19 records, Wolf implements new restrictions

But these are not normal times.

We are eight months into a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of around 260,000 Americans.

And the situation is getting worse, not better.

After the state Health Department on Sunday reported 559 new cases in York County, a number that more than doubled the previous record set Nov. 17, Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday announced a slew of new statewide guidelines.

Among them are new restrictions on outdoor events, which limit total attendance to as little as 5% of maximum capacity in some instances.

On Tuesday, PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi emailed the 12 schools playing in state championship games this weekend and stated that each district will have just 386 tickets to sell for their respective games, rather than the 800 to 1,000 tickets the schools had been expecting.

Central York quarterback Beau Pribula rolls out of the pocket looking for a receiver as the Panters face McDowell in the PIAA Class 6-A state semifinal game November 21, 2020
John A. Pavoncello photo

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

The football team already has trimmed down its travel roster, and parents will be given access to tickets first.

Last week, the governor threw another obstacle at the PIAA when he said all athletes on or off the field are required to wear masks at all times. Schools were told to consult their solicitors about how to proceed with wearing masks during competition.

It’s important to keep this in perspective: The goal of these new restrictions is to try to keep people safe from a deadly virus rampaging across the country.

No one is happy about them, but they are necessary. Lives are on the line.

Football, on the other hand, is simply a game, whether it’s played in a neighborhood park or in an arena. The only thing on the line are bragging rights.

And frankly, whether Central York wins or loses tomorrow, its players already have plenty to brag about after a thrilling season led by quarterback Beau Pribula.

The Penn State commit and four-star recruit by ESPN has generally been considered the most talented player on every field he has stepped on as Central York’s leader.

While we wish Yorkers could pack Hersheypark Arena to the rafters and cheer him and his teammates on tomorrow, we are resigned to sending them on their way with our best wishes for a successful — and, most importantly, safe — game.

Go Panthers!