As of the time I am writing this, I have taken in 44 high school football games in seven different states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia. Mayland and Virginia were new for me and I have to say I enjoyed both though I will admit seeing a game at Hurley, Virginia was something I recommend for any high school football fan who likes to travel in their own car to see games. There is something special about tiny towns and the way they support their team. Hurley would be blown out in the game 35-0 against Honaker. My games in Tennessee were at the historical Stone Castle Stadium in Bristol. Both of those games featured Virginia teams because of covid and weather issues. The highlight of those games was getting to see Grund play again.
The trip to Maryland was a last-minute decision due to some scheduling conflicts in Philadelphia, Pa. where I had planned to be that weekend. The games themselves were both blowouts with Perry Hall and New Town both posting shutout wins. The highlight of this trip was the food that I had at a small carryout only (Covid restrictions) place called Wings and Seafood in Pikesville. I ate late at night and waited thirty minutes to get the food as the place was crazy busy.
The next part of the spring season took me to the Philadelphia area for the first time. I will admit I was very skeptical about going to games in this area only because I am not a fan of bigger cities. My games both took place at the Germantown Supersite in Philadelphia. I got there very early to take everything in and I have to admit this trip was awesome. I was treated to a very good game that saw Martin Luther King post a nice win over Frankfort (32-21). One of the coaches from Martin Luther King came up in the stands to thank me for covering them and told me to let him know if I needed anything. Fans were not allowed only media and I was the only person setting in the stands in the large stadium. The two Maryland games and this game were part of the same trip.
My next trip took me back to Virginia where I was able to catch a game at Blacksburg high school that featured Giles, who runs the old single-wing offense. This was my main reason for heading back to Virginia. Giles posted a 62-7 win over Alleghany. Here I met the A.D./ Ast coach from Giles and have to say he turned out to be good people.
The rest of the spring season would see me bouncing from the Philly area to Western New York. I was able to catch some day games at Chester, Pa. where the home team Chester would post a blowout win over Ready and then later be upset by a very sound Academy Park squad. Twice I took in games at Central high school in Philadelphia where I found myself really liking the way the home team play. They would win both games. One was over Frankfort (21-11). There was a brutal fight at the end of this one and to the credit of the Central staff, they were able to get their team off of the field quickly after the refs ended the game. In the other game, they easily defeated Roxborough 56-12. Before I exit the Philly part of the spring I wanted to make sure to say that I now consider myself a fan of Central and Martine Luter King and have to say thanks to Malik Jones, Head Football Coach, Martin Luther King a High School along with the staff for treating me like I belong there.
The New York part of the spring season for me was great. I got to see some good football along with visiting some brand new places. Right off the bat I have to say meeting and being treated like a regular member of the media by Ty Harper, the head coach at Clymer-Sherman-Panama Wolfpackwas the highlight of the entire spring trip. Coach Harper stuck around to speak to me and Sykotyk the photographer and friend that I often travel with after each game and never hesitated in answering any questions. There are so many good things that I could list about the Western New York trip but will stick to a few or so. Getting to see games at Jamestown was sensational. I got to see the beast known as
Jaylen Butera play and was able to do one of my online interviews with him. Getting to catch a game at the home of Southwestern was special because they are one of the three schools I find myself rooting really hard for. One of two places that shocked me as far as enjoying myself so much was Salamanca. Though it snowed and was miserable out I overlooked it because of the dominating performance that
Big Bad Jarod White put on. He had to have had somewhere between 15-20 tackles and led his team to the close win. The 2nd place on that list was Johnny B. Willy in Buffalo where WNY Maritime-Health Sciences play.
Heading into the all-star games portion of the schedule I have hit games in Erie, Pa. for the first time. The stadium is awesome but with only street parking the overall experience really depends on how close you get to park to the stadium. Central Dauphin was another new place for me and a place I highly recommend to catch a game. Another place in Pennsylvania and my favorite place in the state I took a game in was Brockway. I hit three new places in Ohio (Independence, East Liverpool, and Lockland). At Lockland, I was able to speak to Cincinnati College Prep head coach Jeremy Pflug, a coach I have known for a handful of years. I also had a nice conversation with his very talented quarterback Mark Smith.
Looking ahead to the regular season I will be going to New Jersey for the first time and making return trips to Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York, and of course seeing games here in my home state Ohio. I am trying to work in a trip to West Virginia and maybe Virginia but as of now, that is up in the air. There will be several new places and new teams in store for me and of course, I will be hitting Newark Catholic, Bellaire, and Paint Valley again. Coach Cooper and head Coach Dye make me feel like I am part of the family there and the fans are as good as it gets. Finally being able to see a game at Riverside Stebbins will be high on my list. Hopefully, I get a chance to meet head coach Greg Bonifay, with who I did an online interview but missed out on talking to him after the all-star game he coached in. I want to see a game at Bridgeport again mainly because their stadium will finally reopen with all of the renovations. Lastly, as far as the regular season goes I am going to try and hit a game at Conotton Valley in Bowerston, OH because they have had such kind words in the times I have covered them and I have not been to a game there in a long time.
The playoffs and state finals will bring a lot of traveling. If all goes as planned I will hit one of my favorite places to hit a game and that is at Northern Iowa University in Cedar Falls. The Texas state finals are high on my list being a lifetime Dallas Cowboys fan makes this trip more special. The highlight of the playoff portion of the season will be covering the huge home-school tourney in Panama Beach, Florida. The head coach (Mike Goodpastor) and a friend invited me to cover this one. I cover Landmark Christian twice during the covid season last year and I was lucky to have met Mike. The praise I received from the staff at Landmark Christain including Mike was something like a movie.