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February 11, 2013

Commonwealth Football Report #16

There are plenty of interesting things on the internet but few things garner as much attention as ranked lists.

Create a list of twenty players who will receive Division I scholarship offers and people will read it and not give it more than a couple seconds of thought.

Put numbers next to those names and rank them, you can keep a message board crowd busy for ages.

Top Football Crowds

Linked here is a blog entry by someone at CollegeStats.org (the author's name is not included) that takes a crack at ranking the top ten "Best High School Football Towns in America".

Having grown up in Ohio, I can vouch for the football fanaticism of both the #1 city, Masillon, and the #10, Cincinnati; the Buckeye people love their gridiron action, no doubt about that.

One Virginia city checks in on the list as Hampton earned the #8 spot on the subjective list.  I won't argue that the folks on the Peninsula aren't crazy about their high school football and the history of success of the city is unparalleled in the state.

However, having lived and traveled throughout the state for over a decade now taking in high school football games, I feel as though Hampton (the city) is living a little bit on reputation.

In regards to football, there's no arguing that Hampton is the city of champions as three of the four programs (Hampton, Phoebus and Bethel) have won championships and the fourth, Kecoughtan, has played for the title.  When it comes to attending football games, the crowds have slowly dwindled over the past decade to the point that most games involving Hampton-city schools rarely cause the attendance keepers to add a comma to the total number.  Even the "big" games have seen smaller and smaller attendance numbers of late.

Regarding the "special section for senior citizen alums" at Crabbers games referenced by the author, I've never seen it.  However, the Crabbers do bring an impressive amount of lifetime fans to their contests, many with alumni jackets commemorating their past successes.  It is indeed impressive.

For my money, if you are looking for enthusiastic crowds, the Concorde District, and specifically, the Westfield crowds are the "best" in the state that I've seen.

Amherst County fans create as great of a pregame atmosphere as any that I've seen and the Louisa County crowds are legendary for their support, at this point though I have to admit to having had no firsthand experience attending one of their home games.

Best crowds that I've seen?  In no particular order: Westfield, Stone Bridge, Oscar Smith, Amherst, Robinson, Chantilly, Hampton and Colonial Forge.

Up and Coming

Recently, I was fortunate to be invited to the postseason banquet for the Virginia Beach Mustangs Pop Warner program run by brothers Bruce and Keith Pearl along with their father, Sid.

The family-centric program includes twelve football teams with players ranging in ages from five to thirteen with the centerpiece of this year's program being the celebration of the national championship won by the Juniro Pee Wees (10-11 year olds).  The victory gave the program, established in 2001, their second national title (the first title team was led by Percy Harvin).

Along with the top-ranked Junior Pee Wees, the Mustangs placed fifth in the country at the Pee Wee level (11-12 year olds) and seventh in the nation at the Junior Midgets level (12-13 year olds).

Speakers at the event included Mustangs alums Bubba Jenkins, a NCAA national wrestling champion from Cox High School, Tajh Boyd, the ACC Player of the Year from Phoebus High School, and Chris Scott, the head coach of the Eastern Region Division Six champion Ocean Lakes Dolphins who each challenged the youngsters to prepare for their future by doing the right things.

Their message was backed up by awards presented by the Pearls as they pass on handing out MVP trophies to instead honor the "Best Dressed" and "Most Respectful" young men.

Suffice to say, the future looks bright in Virginia Beach.

Fun with Video

I can't tell you much about the video linked below outside of the fact that it was produced in 1986 (posted to youtube in 2007) and is apparently a hype video about the Glasgow Diamonds, a local American football team in Scotland.

The unintentional comedy factor is through-the-roof high.

I hope that the song doesn't get stuck in your head.

Football's our gaaaaammmmmmeeee!

Football Editor Rod Johnson is now entering his tenth year with VirginiaPreps.com having first written for the site in 2003. To keep up with even more high school football news in Virginia, follow him on Twitter @vaprepsrod or find him on Facebook under "VirginiaPreps Rod Johnson".  He can also be contacted via e-mail at vaprepsrod@cox.net.


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