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This Friday marks the season-opener for not only the MERHS football team, but for the Fall II sports season as a whole. Fans will get a glimpse of what the Manchester Essex football and cheering squads will look like on the road against Triton on March 12, and the Winter Track team will begin its season in a few weeks outdoors.

Another unique element for an already unique season includes the return of spectators to Fall II sports events. Yes, fans will once again be in the stands for sporting events, but there are restrictions: Immediate family members of the student athletes -- this means parents and siblings, specifically -- will be the only ones allowed to attend games and meets as spectators this season.

“The spectator policy is contingent upon the state [and] local Board of Health changing their venue limitations,” explains MERHS Athletic Director Jordan Edgett. “We are abiding by their guidelines.​”

This will be the first time in a while that spectators have been allowed at high school sporting events locally.

“My assumption is this is the first time we've had fans -- even in a limited capacity -- watching anything in person in a year,” says Edgett.

Jason Brisbois has covered Cape Ann sports and features for more than 15 years. He would be happy to hear from you with comments or questions at jason@thecricket.com