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It's game on at Destin Middle School, with some guidelines

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

For now, it's game on at Destin Middle School.

With the start of school on Monday, came athletic schedules and what games might look like during a pandemic.

The key for sporting events this year is going to be "social distancing," says Athletic Director Ron Griffiths.

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So with that in mind, here are some guidelines the Marlins will be putting in place this year for each of the fall sports, such as football, volleyball and cross country.

The Destin Marlins were on the practice field earlier this week getting ready for the upcoming season.

FOOTBALL

Football games usually draw the biggest field of spectators due to the players, cheerleaders and band involvement..

As for fans in the stands, that number will be cut back in order to space out.

Griffiths said there will be "somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 tickets" available for home games. Each football player will be allotted four tickets for their family. Cheerleaders and band members will also be allotted so many tickets.

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Plus they will have to make available enough tickets for the visiting team, Griffiths said.

"It's all cut down," he said.

Also there will be no congregating on the track for spectators.

The Destin Marlins stretch it out on the gridiron on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for the upcoming football season.

"We can't allow it ... people are going to have to be somewhere," Griffiths added.

As for on the field, things will be a bit different as well.

Related: April 2020: DMS coach says stay in shape, idle back agenda

Every player will have their own water bottle and there will be plenty of room for players and coaches to spread out on the sidelines. Instead of the players box going from 25 to 25, it will now be from 10 to 10, giving the players 80 yards to spread out.

Griffiths says that should be ample space for the players to be socially distanced. The Marlins have 24 players on the team and with 11 on the field at all times, that only leaves 13 on the sidelines.

The Destin Marlins were on the practice field earlier this week getting ready for the upcoming season. The Destin Marlins will field 24 players this season.

Plus there will be no huddles on the playing field. 

Destin kicks off its season Sept. 24 at Shoal River in Crestview. Game time is 6:30 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

Volleyball tips off Sept. 16 at Davidson in Crestview. 

But until then, Coach Carrie Plaiser said the girls had a chance to come out for open gym, plus a camp last week.

Plaiser said they ran multiple camp times so as to not overload the gym.

More:Marlins take county title in volleyball

Tryouts for the team was held earlier this week.

"It shouldn't take us long to get into game shape," Plaiser said.

"We have a strong group of returning players. What we lack in height we make up for in athleticism. Some of these girls can jump through the roof, it's been fun to watch," she said.

Although it's been fun, the team is taking precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Plaiser says they are staying spread out during water breaks, sanitizing their hands before coming back onto the floor, and sanitizing balls and equipment at the end of the day. 

"The girls must bring their own water to practice," she said. Plus they check players' temperatures before participation.

The Lady Marlins' first home game will be Sept. 21 against Shoal River.

And in keeping with social distancing, the number of tickets for games will be limited to about 200. Each player will be allotted so many tickets for their parents and then the rest will be available for other spectators.

CROSS COUNTRY

The Marlin cross country team will travel to Fort Walton Beach Sept. 16 for a meet at Pryor Middle School. Ruckel Middle of Niceville will also be participating in the meet.

"Cross country is considered a low risk sport, because of no contact," Griffiths said, concerning COVID-19.

More:2018: Cross country teams run away with title

However, Coach Demetris Stevens says they have been tracking temperatures and asking about symptoms.

And for bus travel to meets, masks will be mandatory on the bus, Stevens said.

Details of the actual meets, on whether all runners will lineup together at the start, or run in heats with staggered start times, "everything is being talked about ... and details are still being worked on," Griffiths said.