Nearly 250,000 Fans Attend Texas High School Football Finals!

The amount of fans who showed up to watch the Texas high school football state finals is staggering.

A total of 245,913 fans flocked to AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, for the Texas UIL high school football state championships this weekend. There were 12 different divisions that were decided over the course of three days.

The average attendance to each game was 20,493 spectators and the overall number of fans was up 65 percent over last season’s turnout.

“We’re thrilled. It’s exciting to see this much support for Texas high school football,” Susan Elza, the UIL’s director of athletics, said to the Dallas News.

Texas high school football is the stuff of legends. Big-budget Hollywood movies have regaled audiences with tales of teamwork overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. But rarely do these movies reveal how deeply interconnected these teams are with their communities.

Elza believes the spike in attendance this year is the result of more schools originating from school districts with just one high school.

“We’ve just got the right combination of schools. This is not to take anything away from multi-school districts, but the majority of our schools are one-school towns,” Elza said to the Dallas News.

A visit to just about any town in Texas will uncover a deep relationship between a community and its high school football.

Link to original article on USA Football website by Frank Bartscheck 

Boling

Boling High School sits in a sleepy little town of 2,000 residents. Yet, the normally quiet town is abuzz with pride.

“Incredible. Everybody’s so excited about leaving (for Thursday’s state title game),” Jamie Macek, a recent Boling graduate said to Click2Houston News. “The town’s going to be empty tomorrow. We’re all go to be there to support. It’s amazing.”

The high school last won a state championship in 1972, which made this long awaited run so sweet.

“The excitement that it’s brought to this community…this is something we’ve been waiting for a long time,” Keith Jedlicka, the Boling high school principal, said to Click2Houston 

Boling’s state title dreams were dashed by Gunter, 42-7, in the title game, but the loss surely does nothing to diminish the pride that the small community has in its team.

DeSoto

DeSoto might be the best storyline of the year. The Dallas-area juggernaut has been one of the most consistent programs in the country over the last five seasons, yet it has never been able to hoist a championship.

“We’ve had a bunch of playoff runs,” senior linebacker Kolby Watts said to the Dallas News. “We just didn’t achieve the goals we wanted to achieve. I feel like we owe it to the community.”

DeSoto has produced NFL players like few others. On opening weekend, five DeSoto alumni (including Broncos linebacker Von Miller) were active on NFL rosters, which is more than any other school in Texas and third most in the nation.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker and DeSoto alum Zach Orr summed it up.

“It would mean the world to our community because the football team is what truly brings the community together,” Orr said via email to the Dallas News.

40,318 fans watched DeSoto complete its fairytale 16-0 season on Saturday on its way to its first state title championship.

Texas’s No. 1 Son

Perhaps the biggest story to come out of the Texas state finals weekend is the tale of junior quarterback John Stephen Jones. The grandson of Jerry Jones [Dallas Cowboys owner] earned his right to compete for the state championship. He beat out two seniors during the preseason and guided Dallas Highland Park to a 14-2 record on its way to a state championship.

The journey united three generations in their shared love of the sport and the important lessons it imparts.

“He’s been by my side each step of this whole thing since spring,” the younger Jones said ESPN while referring to his father.

The Lone Star State used its Texas-sized voice over the weekend to let the nation know just how important high school football is in the state of Texas.

USA Football
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