KUNA, Idaho — The Kuna Kavemen are the defending 4A state champs, but they lost their opener 37-31 to Lewiston as they played with no fans because of the coronavirus.
Before the game started, community members and parents organized a parade to show their support because they couldn't watch their team play in person.
"It's kind of nerve-racking as a parent not watching a game, and through youth football, I've never missed a game until today," said Adam Carlson, whose son Robert was playing his first game since coming back from a knee injury. "It hurts, it really does."
With no energy from the fans, Kuna came out flat and fell behind Lewiston 25-7.
"I don't know if we adapted to it," said Kuna wide receiver Koltin Teater. "We are used to that energy here because we have big crowds, but we have to do better."
Kuna came back behind Sean Austin's three touchdown passes to Teater, but the Kavemen would end up losing 37-30 in their season opener.
Moving forward, Kuna will focus on conditioning and getting more reps because the kids weren't able to participate in summer camps.
Kuna also had practices canceled due to the coronavirus and poor air quality.
"We have to just get in shape honestly," said offensive lineman Robert Carlson. "It has been a long journey since last season with corona and everything, so we just have to get in shape and trust ourselves more."
The future remains hazy as Kuna's next scheduled game is at Eagle next Friday night; however, the West Ada School District hasn't decided on fall sports.
"I hope the Treasure Valley and the teams around see it was safe here," said Teater.
The parents we talked with say they would be willing to sacrifice not being in the stands if that means their kids can compete on the field.
"I just say let the kids play, if the parents have to watch it online, the parents have to watch it online," said Adam Carlson. "It is what it is, but the kids work hard for this, and they deserve to play."
Kuna was the only school in Ada County to play under the lights this past weekend, several other schools in Idaho played high school football but those games mostly at smaller schools involved fans.