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Fans, community adjust to limited tickets for high school football games

Buck Cochran played linebacker for the Oak Ridge Wildcats in the 1980s, and he loyally attends games now, but this year might see some complications.
Ticket line for first football game, an away game for Oak Ridge High School
Ticket line for first football game, an away game for Oak Ridge High School(WVLT)
Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 9:10 PM EDT
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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Buck Cochran played linebacker for the Oak Ridge Wildcats in the 1980s, and he loyally attends games now, but this year might see some complications.

Cochran said he didn’t get his place in line soon enough to score a ticket Wednesday to the school’s first game of the 2020 season against Hardin Valley. “Got here early, but I guess they sold out. Have to listen to it on Wildcat Radio,” he said.

Cochran would have needed to arrive before 8:00 am to get in line before friends, Maleah Monger, Rylie Dickens and Audrianna Williams. All three drove themselves to the school loaded with blankets to sit on, the day’s virtual school homework and food.

“Well, we just wanted to be the first one in the line and we knew the school opened at 8:00 so...” said Dickens.

“We actually brought breakfast with us and had like a little picnic,” said Williams.

Behind them in line was alum Brandy Rodrigues, determined to get tickets so her freshman daughter could attend the Friday game with her. It’s a family tradition. “That’s every Friday night. That’s what you’re supposed to do is be at the football game supporting the football players.”

The line was for the school to sell its remaining tickets from the allotment of 250 it received from Hardin Valley. Because of COVID-19 precautions, the host school is limiting fan seating. Because of some confusion in the distribution process, the line for tickets included football players and cheerleading parents, all still trying to secure tickets so loved ones could watch athletes in the stadium. The school intended to reserve two of its allotted tickets for each student athlete’s family to purchase. The school handed out a slip of paper to fans who did not receive tickets in line, stating there could be a possibility of buying tickets online Thursday morning via Hardin Valley Academy, though the method for doing this was unclear and came with no guarantees.

Home games at Blankenship Field are a tradition many fans hope will remain, despite the unusual season with its limitations. Across from the field, in historic Jackson Square, eateries are looking forward to serving Friday night football fans. Big Ed’s Pizza is serving take-out only, and Razzleberry’s Cafe has an outdoor patio, while Dean’s Restaurant offers spaced-out indoor seating.

“We are always full supporter of Wildcats,” said Razzleberry’s owner Waldek Kaczocha. “We are Wildcat Nation!”

Dean’s owner Dean Russell said, “We do love to have our customers in on game night. Just go out there and support businesses and go Wildcats!”

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