Garfield Re-2 grandmas happy to be back watching grandsons play football
Just after kickoff, Donna DuBois, grandmother to Titans senior starting quarterback Karsen DuBois was standing amid a sea of sitting bodies at the top of the home bleachers.
She just couldn’t sit still knowing her grandson, after nearly seven months of waiting, was back on the gridiron.
“He’s a senior and it’s, like, his life,” Donna said. “So yeah, we’re so very, very happy he’s back on the field.”
Donna, a Denver Broncos season ticket holder, said football holds a magical space in the hearts of the student athletes and their families.
“It’s just so important,” she said. “I like this football. It’s outside, it’s beautiful and it’s getting back to some normalcy.”
Wedged between students, parents and little tykes out at the stands and surrounding fences at a high school football game is a small contingent of spectators who arguably have more at stake than anyone else: The loyal grandmothers of western Garfield County.
Not only have they watched their children spend their formative years out on the playing fields, they get to get to watch a whole other generation of theirs grow.
But since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that prompted Garfield Re-2 School District to postpone much of the 2020 fall sports season until now, some dedicated grandmothers have been forced to remain patient.
Lucky for them, however, March 19 ushered in the start of high school football in Garfield County, with Rifle and Coal Ridge going head to head on Titans turf. Unlike the sometimes dreary, damp fall evenings typical of high school football, the day came with low winds, warming sunshine and bluebird skies.
Down at the visitors’ end, Lorrie Peterson, grandmother to junior Bears starting quarterback Gavin Peterson, walked close to the sidelines with her smartphone pointed in the direction of the field. She smiled as she took a picture.
Lorrie said she’s been watching her star quarterback play sports “since he was knee high to a grasshopper.”
“There’s nothing better,” she said of watching her grandson suit up in football gear again. “He’s doing great. He’s got a touchdown, he’s killing it. I’m a happy grandma.”
So far, Colorado High School Activities Association, under the guidance of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has allowed Re-2 to host 250 fans in the home stands — including another 100 for the away team.
In addition to spectators, high school leathernecks are not required to take some of the precautions their basketball counters had to follow during Season B sports.
“I’m just glad they’re not making them wear masks to play,” Lorrie said. “It’s horrible.”
Parents also finally got to see their kids play, after waiting months for spring football — one of the most notable anomalies in Colorado high school sports history — to kickoff .
Minutes before her son, Rifle senior Josh Straw, tackled Karsen DuBois for a yard-losing quarterback sack, Stephanie Straw said she’s simply just thankful the student-athletes get to play again.
“I think that it’s great that we’re out here and the boys are super excited,” she said. They weren’t sure they were going to get a season. And now they’re out there, they’re pumped up. Us parents, we’re just glad we’re out there with ’em.”
Her son is also pumped to be working with a good football team — a program that eventually won Friday night’s battle 49-0.
“Rifle’s got a great team and a great new head coach,” she said. “He felt like they’re going to be successful. Rifle kicks butt every single year, every single game. It’s usually over by halftime every time they play.”
Stephanie also acknowledged the district’s decision to bring football back in spring.
“It was extremely important,” she said. “Who doesn’t love watching their boy play ball? We would’ve been disappointed, but we’re just very pumped for him in his senior year.”
With her smart phone in her hand, Lorrie Peterson echoed Stephanie’s sentiment toward her starting quarterback grandson.
“I don’t like missing anything he does,” she said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
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AS OF THURSDAY, APRIL 22