Well, it’s as good a time as any to write up about the first seven weeks of the 2015 High School Football season. I had intended to write recaps of Kentucky and Tennessee from Week 0 and New York from Week 2. In between, there was also one game from West Virginia. The rest were my usual games around Ohio and Pennsylvania.
After two straight years of watching 100 high school football games in person, I blew by that number with ease. This year I had several big weekends around the country and had reached 100 in time for a Thursday night game in Baltimore in Week 15. By the end of the season, I had witnessed in person 127 high school football games. My girlfriend was with me for 114 of them. Of the games I saw, 3 games were 8-man (Iowa and Nebraska) and 1 was 9-man (Minnesota).
Now, as I’ve done in the past, this is a breakdown of my travels. This year I had seen games in 15 different states. I saw games on 19 different weekends. My first game of the year was on August 21st in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the last was on December 27th in Boca Raton, Florida. I watched games in 53 different venues in 52 different cities in 15 different states. I saw 240 different teams from 17 different states play. Of the 127 games I saw, 124 were complete games, while three games were finishes that I saw after another game ended (once), that was a postponement that had already played a quarter (once) or I was sick and arrived around halftime (once).
I originally hoped to get something down earlier but the week between Texas and Florida was a bit full for certain obvious reasons.
Basically, Week 17 was part of a three week trip for games in Texas and Florida, as well as a Christmas spent in Fort Lauderdale with my girlfriend’s family. It also gave me the chance to clinch a few more states in my quest to visit every county in the country. However, this write-up is to summarize the Texas portion of the trip.
During Week 16, Pennsylvania hosted four championship games at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey on Friday and Saturday. The games have been played at Hersheypark Stadium for quite some time now and is a rather great location for the games. The stadium, though decently sized for the crowd, is old and decrepit. Located just east of Harrisburg, Hershey is the home of the chocolate behemoth Hershey’s and all its related hoopla. Including Hersheypark, which is where the sports complex is located.
This was a difficult decision for me. For the first time in years I opted not to attend the Ohio state championships. Though the games were moved from Stark County to Columbus, it’s obvious that the travel wasn’t an issue for me. And neither was the cost. However, I wasn’t expecting the games to be worth the time and effort.
The past two weeks have been quite eventful for myself. After seeing 74 games through 13 weekends of high school football, I ramped it up a bit with 25 games in 10 days on a trip through the midwest. The trip started on Tuesday, November 18th and finished Sunday, November 30th. In between, were: 3,011 miles of highway; 11 states; 24 state championship games in 4 states; a Thanksgiving Day game in suburban St. Louis; and, a lot of fun.
This was one of the best weekends of football I’ve gotten to experience in a while. In four days, in three cities, I and my girlfriend took in 13 NYPHSAA Sectional Championships. The week’s planning started with two triple-headers at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY. Because of a Bills home game on Sunday, the high school games were set for Thursday and Friday. This meant that Saturday would be open.
The original plan was then to drive into Pennsylvania, and see a District 10 Quarterfinal between Greenville and Northwestern, and then a short trip over to suburban Youngstown for Liberty-Gilmour Academy. It was during this planning, that I noted Syracuse was hosting four Section 3 championships at the Carrier Dome on Sunday. As the Browns were already playing on the road Thursday, I wasn’t in a big hurry to get back home. A further glance of the schedule shows Rochester was playing their regular Section 5 championships at Sahlen’s Stadium on Friday and Saturday. So, my mind was made up for me.
Unlike in years past, I haven’t been able to write more frequently. This will probably continue through the rest of the season. So, despite my lack of time, I still want to write about my travels for high school football games. And instead, will go to a more quarterly approach to the season.