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THE STINGER

THE STINGER

The student news site of Emmaus High School

THE STINGER

THE STINGER

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Balancing work and school
February 22, 2024

The significance of high school football in communities

Emmaus+homecoming+football+game+on+Oct.+13%2C+2023+against+Liberty+High+School+at+EPSD+Stadium.
Zoe Hulings
Emmaus homecoming football game on Oct. 13, 2023 against Liberty High School at EPSD Stadium.

Team spirit is present in the air as you sit down by your friends on the freezing cold bleachers. The smell of the concession stand popcorn and pretzels breezes past your nose when watching the football team fight in the last quarter of the game. The game is neck–and–neck against your school’s most rivaled team, everything was tense, yet exciting. 

In the last seconds of the game, the anticipation of the team’s best running back, sprinting toward the end zone to try and score the last winning points, had you on the edge of your seat. In the last seconds, he dodges his opponents and gets the winning touchdown.

 The crowd goes wild, students cheering and yelling for their classmates’ victory, parents hug each other celebrating their child’s win, everyone near and far commemorating the team. 

High school American football is one of the most socially significant sports in high school. Since the day it was created, fans have piled into the small stadiums to watch their classmates play against their rivals. The evolution of playing at big universities to the smallest high schools is more impactful than you might think. 

The first high school football game was played on May 12, 1875, between Norwich Free Academy and New London High School. Though before the first high school football game took place, American football was only prominent in universities during the late 1800s.

 Walter Camp was the most well known player and the greatest Yale University coach of all time, and was nicknamed the “Father of American Football.”  After his impact on the progression of football as a whole, American football began to branch out all over the country, and is currently played by high schools all over the nation.

But, how does high school football compare to college football? As a matter of fact, it does better. High school football fans outnumber those of college and seem to be closer to each other, on a fan level. 

The National Federation of State High School Associations, an organization dedicated to writing sports stories and creating rules, wrote a news article titled “High school football is thriving, not dying” explaining the statistics between high school football players and fan attention to those of college.

“An unofficial attendance survey conducted by the NFHS in 2011 indicated about 165 million fans attended high school games during that season, which included up to five weeks of playoffs and a weekly average of 11 million fans. Either way, the number of fans at high school football games dwarfs the numbers attending professional football games.” NFHS stated. 

High school football is statistically more popular than college football because it’s easier for people to feel a connection closer to their team, since there is a high student population. It’s kind of difficult to cheer for your team if you don’t know the players on a personal level. If you have friends and great weather, you’re going to have a strong crowd at a football game.

“Early season crowds have been strong in many areas of the country with terrific fall weather– current and former students; parents, grandparents, and friends of players on the team; long time fans and supporters in the community.” NFHS stated.

High school football is really about the community it builds. Even if you don’t like the sport, it’s still fun to go and be with your friends and classmates. 

The student section at Emmaus High School, the Hornet’s Nest, is a great example of student pride and is the loudest crowd at every football game. The Hornet’s Nest is run by three seniors: Andrew Kleist, Marcus Puentes, and William Barber, who were previously picked by the past three in charge. The three heads then pick 10 close friends together for the front row to hype the crowd up. The three in charge are also the supervisors of coming up with themes and making posters. But why is this all important? 

Barber is a senior who plays on the basketball team and lacrosse team for Emmaus. 

“I think it’s super important, the comradery around the school is great during the fall. Everyone dresses up and gets loud and has a lot of fun, especially if the team is playing well. The other sports support the football team, and then they support the spring and winter sports,” Barber said. 

If you support the football team, the football team will reciprocate back and support your sport as well. Overall, giving encouragement and support to all teams here at Emmaus because of football. 

Even though running a student section is fun and exciting, it’s also very time-consuming. Puentes, another head of the student section, is also a senior and plays soccer for Emmaus. He explains that though running a student section is fun, it does take a lot of his time.

“It takes a decent amount of time out of your day. You have to plan everything out for games and make the signs, and then we have to figure out what we are going to do. It’s not like an overwhelming amount of work, but it’s definitely a decent amount of work you have to do,” Puentes said. 

The effort given by the students to give the football team support is overwhelming. You can tell they really care about making sure everyone has a good time and can have a good experience here at Emmaus. 

American football is not only important to a majority of the country, but even more so in smaller communities, and to a great degree very vital here for the students here at Emmaus. 

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