High school football
High school football is one of most popular interscholastic sports at
high schools in the United Statesand the second most popular in Canada.Fact|date=August 2008 The game's popularity with both audiences and students is widespread across both nations.
High school football dates back to the late 19th century, concurrent with the start of many college football programs. In the late 19th and early 20th century, many college and high school teams played against one another. Many other traditions of high school football such as
marching bands and homecoming games are mirrored in college football.
National Federation of State High School Associations(NFHS) establishes the rules of High School Football. Two states, Texasand Massachusetts, use NCAAplaying rules. [In Texas, NCAA rules are used by both of the state's largest governing bodies for high school sports—the University Interscholastic League, whose membership is generally restricted to public schools, and the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, the largest governing body for non-public schools.]
With their common ancestry, the NFHS rules of high school football are largely similar to the college game, though with some important differences:
* The four quarters are each 12 minutes in length, as opposed to 15 minutes in all other forms of the game.
* Kickoffs take place at the kicking team's 40 yd line, as opposed to 30 in college and the NFL.
* If a ball crosses the plane of the goal line on a missed field goal, it would be a
touchbackand the opposing team will start at the 20 yd line.
* Any kick crossing the goal line is automatically a touchback; kicks cannot be returned out of the end zone.
* Pass interference by the defense results in a 15-yard penalty (and automatic first down), regardless of where the foul occurred (unlike the pro ranks where the ball is placed at the spot of the foul).
* The defense cannot return an extra-point attempt for a score.
* The use of overtime, and the type of overtime used, is up to the individual state association.
The high school football season
Training for the upcoming season usually starts in June with
weightliftingand other conditioning activities. Some states allow seven on seven scrimmages, while others prohibit formal practices during most of the summer. Near the end of the summer in mid-August, double sessions tend to begin and usually last for one week or until school starts.Fact|date=August 2008 After double sessions end, regular season practices begin with daily sessions each week day afternoon except on game day. Practices are often held on Saturday as well, but almost never on Sunday.Fact|date=August 2008
The regular season typically consists of ten games in most states.Fact|date=August 2008 The first game of the season is usually in late August or early September and the final regular season game is usually in late October to the middle of November.Fact|date=August 2008 Teams may have one or more bye weeks during the regular season. The vast majority of high school football games are scheduled for Friday nights, with Thursday evenings and Saturdays being less heavily used.Fact|date=August 2008 Alternate days are most common in larger school districts where the facilities are used by multiple schools. Larger schools (especially those with successful programs) can often draw attendances in the thousands, even for regular season games, and in some cases may play the game at a college or professional stadium to accommodate the expected large crowds.
Each state has at least one sanctioning organization for
public schools. In many states a separate organization governs interscholastic athletics at most private schools. Each sanctioning body divides its member schools up into anywhere from two to eight size classifications based on enrollment and then each classification is further divided into geographic regions. The size classifications are arranged from 'A'/'1A' (the smallest) to 'AAAAAAAA'/'8A' (the largest), though the nomenclature and number of size divisions vary from state to state. A school's size classification will change if its enrollment rises or declines over the years. At the smallest schools, particularly in rural communities or smaller private schools, variations on the game using six, eight, or nine players per side instead of the traditional eleven (or twelve in Canada) are encountered.
Prior to the 1970s, many states crowned state champions through polls, but playoff systems have become nearly universal since then and most states have steadily increased the number of teams eligible to participate and total number of classifications. Though the playoff scheme and number of teams eligible varies, regional champions will compete in elimination playoff rounds — in a tradition borrowed from pro football rather than college — to determine a state champion for each size classification. The championship games are usually held at a neutral site, usually a college or NFL stadium needed to accommodate the larger crowds. College and professional fields are also usually better equipped to handle inclement weather which is common since state championship games are typically held in late November to the middle of December. Note that some states with large populations such as
New Jerseyonly crown regional champions, and in many large cities, including Pittsburgh, Virginia Beach, Buffalo, New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, public high schools compete in their own "city leagues" and may or may not ever play opponents outside of them. At the other extreme are states such as Illinoisor West Virginia, in which regional championships do not exist; the state's playoffs are seeded on a statewide basis.
Some publications and internet sites release nationwide rankings based on polls or mathematical formulas which take into account various factors like average margin of victory and strength of schedule. Schools that finish atop these rankings, particularly the
USA Todaypoll, are sometimes considered to be the national champions.Fact|date=August 2008
Home schooling and high school football
Homeschooled students may also participate in high school football through independent or freelance teams that compete against small private (or in a few cases, public) schools. In some states, such as
Florida, state law allows homeschooled students to compete in interscholastic athletics for their local school district. Thus, homeschooled Tim Tebow, who was one of the top quarterbackprospects in the nation, was able to play for the nationally-ranked public Nease High School. Tebow won college football's most coveted individual award, the Heisman Trophy, in 2007 as quarterbackfor the University of Florida. The legislature in the state of Alabama, where Tebow played in a nationally-televised loss against Hoover High School, is considering a bill, dubbed the "Tim Tebow Bill" [http://www.timtebowbill.com/] that would grant similar rights to Alabama's home schooled students.
In all states, the HS football season will have ended by late December, but the recruiting process by which colleges offer scholarships to high school seniors often starts in the summer, before the school year and football season begin. Physical assessment is an increasingly important part of the recruiting process. Football camps are held at college campuses where a large number of potential recruits can be evaluated simultaneously in various speed and skills drills. Players are evaluated based on running the
40-yard dash, agility shuttle, vertical jumpand the number of repetitions on the bench pressthat they can perform at a given weight. Recently, the SPARQrating has become a popular composite metric to evaluate overall athleticism. Based on performance over the course of their careers and at camps, colleges will typically take potential recruits on tours of the campus and athletic facilities, or the college may have its team's coach visit the recruit at home or at school.
While all colleges do much of their recruiting from local and in-state high schools, where they can network with HS coaches and
booster clubs, the nation's top college programs can easily recruit athletes from around the country. Some colleges have historically been aided in this regard through their prominence within their religious affiliation, such as Notre Dame or BYU.
Students who played for larger high schools, or who competed in nationally-televised matches, have a natural advantage towards recruitment, while players who competed at smaller schools - such as most states' 1A and 2A categories - will have their skills and achievements judged versus the lower-caliber opposition they faced and, as such, are rarely considered as top prospects. Occasionally, though, a student at a smaller school will receive a full scholarship – for example,
Dallas Cowboysoffensive lineman Leonard Davisreceived a scholarship to the University of Texasdespite playing football in Wortham, Texas, a class 1A school.
Though it is an expensive project, HS football players often increase their visibility by sending out video highlights of their playing skills to college recruiters. If a student receives no scholarship offers, they may still attempt to make a college team by becoming a "walk on" and paying their own tuition in the hopes that they can make the team and possibly receive a scholarship. Others will try out for a non-scholarship team, such as a
Division IIIschool, or a two-year junior collegeteam. The latter option is also popular with students with academic or behavioral issues that would prevent them from playing at a four-year college.
While the vast majority of HS football players will not even be considered for a scholarship offer, players who receive nationwide attention will invariably receive scholarship offers from more than one school and will often hold a
press conferenceto announce their final selection. "All Star" exhibition games like the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which is televised nationally by NBC, give the nation's top prospects the opportunity to publicly announce their college selection or to provide one last opportunity to showcase their talents to college recruiters. By National Signing Day, the first Wednesday in February, most top recruits will have already signed non-binding letters of intent or verbally committed with colleges.
High school football phenoms
High school football has produced a number of athletes that draw national media attention while still in high school. Some, but not all, have continued on to success in college and/or the NFL.
Cedric Benson– led his Midland Lee squads to three consecutive Texas 5A state championships (scoring 15 touchdowns in those title games); first high school athlete to appear on the cover of " Dave Campbell's Texas Football"
Brian Brohm- led his Trinity Shamrocks to three straight Kentucky 4A state championships; he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustratedduring his junior season of high school.
Jimmy Clausen– never lost a football game he started in his prep career; announced his college decision at College Football Hall of Fameafter arriving in a stretch Hummerlimousine
Tim Couch– set a number of national high school records, including passing yardage (12,104), while at Leslie County High School( Hyden, Kentucky).
Ronald Curry– record breaking quarterback whose Hampton High School teams in 1996 and 1997 are widely considered the best in Virginia history, but his star was eclipsed in college by district rival Michael Vick.
*Ken Hall – nicknamed “The Sugar Land Express” while rushing a convert|11232|yd|m total over his career (1951-'53), a national record that still stands after more than 50 years.
*Mike Hart – rushed for a national record 204
touchdowns over his career at Onondaga Central High School.
Todd Marinovich– was famously subjected to a strict diet and training regimen from early childhood by his father to prepare him for football stardom but later drug usage undermined his college and NFL careers.
Ben Mauk- set national single season records for yards (6,540) as well as national career records for completions (1,105), attempts (1,931), and yards (17,534); furthermore, he holds the second highest national career touchdownmark (179), all earned while winning two OHSAAtitles at Kenton High School.cite web|url=http://gobearcats.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/mauk_ben00.html|title=University of Cincinnati Football|accessdate=2007-08-07] After three seasons at Wake Forest, ending with a catastrophic injury to his throwing arm in 2006, he recovered to start for the University of Cincinnati in his final season in 2007.
Ron Powlus– college football analyst Beano Cookpredicted he would win two Heisman Trophies in college.
Austin Scott- set the Pennsylvania High School season rushing record (3,853 yards) and had 53 touchdowns in 2002.
Emmitt Smith– broke Hall's record for most career convert|100|yd|m|sing=on games with 45.
Mike Doss- Led Canton McKinley to back-to-back state titles in 97-98, and a national title in 97. As a senior he ran for 1,454 yds., 22 td's, including 143 yds., and 4 td's in the title game. Also had 111 tackles and 3 ints.
High school football in the media
As most games take place during
primetime, television exposure of HS football on a local basis tends to be limited to championship games only. However, some areas such as Western Pennsylvaniawhere high school football is hugely popular, has regular press coverage of all area games. In Minnesota, there is an entire television station devoted to high school sports. (Mostly football and hockey) Local public access cable televisionand local radio stations often air regular season contests, and in some cases, the school's own radio station broadcasts the game using student announcers. There has also been a massive increase in recent years of web based stations covering high school sporting events. Examples include HSSP Radio in Indiana [http://www.hssp.cc] who webcasts via sportsjuice.com [http://www.sportsjuice.com] , or MSBN in Minnesota [http://www.mnsportsnetwork.com] and BSports.org in Washington [http://www.bsports.org] , both of whom webcast on the Meridix Webcast Network[http://www.meridix.com] . In many television markets, local stations will air 30 or 60-minute "scoreboard" shows following their late Friday newscastwith scores and highlights from games in their coverage area. Starting in 2005, the ESPNfamily of networks have also aired regular season matchups between nationally ranked teams.
Despite this increased national media attention, some states restrict the broadcast of high school games. One example is the
University Interscholastic League, which governs public school sports in Texas. The UIL has a long-standing ban on television broadcasting of high school football games on Friday nights, believing that doing so could hurt ticket sales (radio broadcasts are allowed, though). Because of this, several games that have been broadcast on ESPN and Fox Sports Netin recent years have had to be played on either Thursday night or on Saturday to avoid the UIL's ban. In Michigan, live television broadcasts of regular season games are prohibited by the state athletic association.
Portrayals of high school football in movies, television, and literature
Hollywoodportrayals of HS football, whether comedies or dramas, often portray the game at the center of a small town's existence and the focus of its attention."Also see Jock (subculture)"
All the Right Moves" - A 1983 film about a Western Pennsylvania football player desperate to earn the scholarship that would enable him to escape his economically depressed town.
American Dreams" — Character "JJ" Pryor was a star HS football running back, and many of the early episodes centered on his games.
* "The Best of Times" - A 1986 film based on an actual rivalry and game between small town Taft (CA) High School (Wildcats) and the larger and highly successful Bakersfield (CA) High School (Drillers) who actually have the California high school record for most wins, most section titles, and most State titles.
* "Bleachers" - A novel published in 2003. It tells of the fictitious Messina High School football team and its coach, Eddie Rake. Rake with 418 wins, 61 losses, and 13 state championships under his belt is on his deathbed, and many of his former players return to Messina to say goodbye.
* "Dazed and Confused" - A 1993 film set in
Texasin 1976. It is not a true high school football movie, but the main character Randy "Pink" Floyd, played by Jason London, is the starting quarterbackat his high school and most of his friends play football as well.
Facing the Giants" - A 2006 film.
* "" - a book about the 1988 season of
Permian High Schoolin Odessa, Texasas they made a surprising run toward the state championship. In the end, however, the underdogs lost in the state semi-finals to Carter High School of Dallas. This book ultimately spawned two other media properties:
** "Friday Night Lights" — A 2004 film whose plot is very similar to that of the book.
** "Friday Night Lights" - A television series inspired by the above film, it began airing in 2006.
Go Tigers!" — A 2001 documentary on the Ohiorivalry between Massillon Washington High Schooland Canton McKinley High School.
Gridiron Gang" - A 2006 film.
Johnny Be Good" - A 1988 film.
* "Lucas" - A 1986 film about the coming of age of a small, intellectually gifted boy; one subplot revolves around his efforts to join the school's football team.
* Nike's "Football is Everything" television and print
ad campaignof 2006 featuring numerous NFL stars and coaches as members of the fictional Marlin BriscoeHigh School Hawks football team. [http://www.nike.com/nikegridiron/?l=briscoe "Requires Macromedia Flash"]
* "Radio" - A 2003 film based on the true story about
T.L. Hanna High Schoolfootball coach Harold Jones and a mentally-challenged young man James Robert Kennedy, nicknamed "Radio" who becomes the team manager.
Remember the Titans" — A 2000 film based on the actual story of the 1971 team of T. C. Williams High Schoolin Alexandria, Virginia.
The Season" - a 1999 ESPN television documentaryof Eastern Pennsylvania's North Penn High School.
Two-A-Days" — MTV reality televisiondocumentary about the 2005 and 2006 football seasons at Hoover High School in suburban Birmingham, Alabama.
* "Varsity Blues" - A 1999 film.
* "Wildcats" - A 1986 film in which
Goldie Hawnplays the daughter of a noted football coach who becomes head coach at an inner-city high school.
List of high school football rivalries (100 years+)
List of high school football rivalries (less than 100 years old)
National Football League
American Football League
Arena Football League
* Double sessions
ESPNCollege Football Encyclopedia" by Michael McCambridge - lists all-time records for all current Division I and Ivy Leaguecolleges, including games played against high school teams "'ISBN 1401337031
* [http://www.nflhs.com NFL website about high school football]
* [http://www.prepnation.com/ PrepNation.com]
*flagicon|Canada [http://www.allcanadagridiron.com/ All Canada Gridiron.com] - Covers HS football in Canada
* [http://www.RivalsHigh.com RivalsHigh.com] Rivals.com dedicated channel to High School Sports
cores and results
*flagicon|USA [http://varsityonline.com/ VarsityOnline.com] - leaderboards, rankings, stories, schedules, scores and statistics covering every high school school in the US.
*flagicon|USA [http://preps.usatoday.com/ Preps.USAToday.com] - "
USA Today" lists current schedules and results for all American HS teams
*flagicon|USA [http://www.maxpreps.com/ MaxPreps.com] - scores from almost every game in the nation
*flagicon|USA [http://www.fp.tv/ FootballPower.tv] - High school football schedules, scores and rankings for all 50 states
*flagicon|USA [http://www.highschoolsports.net/hs-football/ High School Football Rankings by Massey] - [http://www.highschoolsports.net/ HighSchoolSports.net] has schedules, scores and statistics covering every high school football team in the US.
tate and regional
*flagicon|Alabama [http://www.ahsfhs.org/ Alabama High School Football Historical Society] - Devoted to the history of High School Football in Alabama
*flagicon|Arkansas [http://www.fearlessfriday.com/ Arkansas HS Football] - Arkansas High School Football, scores, message boards and more!
*flagicon|Arkansas [http://ar.prepcountry.com/ Arkansas Prep Country] - Arkansas High School Sports, Current & Historical scores for all games in Arkansas back to 1985, current scores in other sports
*flagicon|Alabama [http://www.mysportsplace.com/ MySportsPlace.com] - Alabama HS Sports, Alabama HS Football, Alabama High School Football, Alabama High School Sports. Scores, standings, schedules, chat.
*flagicon|Georgia (U.S. state) [http://www.ghsfha.org/ Georgia High School Football Historians] - complete results of all HS football games in the state of Georgia since 1948
*flagicon|Illinois [http://www.618football.com/ 618Football.com] - Covering all high school football in Illinois with the focus on the 618 area code. Scores, highlight videos, forums.
*flagicon|Michigan [http://www.michigan-football.com/ Michigan-Football.com] - complete results of all HS football games in the state of
*flagicon|Minnesota [http://varsityonline.com/ Minnesota-VarsityOnline.com] - Leaderboard, Rankings, Schedules, Scores, Stats, Stories, and more!
*flagicon|North Carolina [http://www.carolinapreps.com/ North & South Carolina HS Football] - Chris Hughes' Carolina Preps Online Magazine, Scores, Forums, Schedules, and Blogs!!!
*flagicon|Pennsylvania [http://www.pafootballnews.com/ PAFootballNews.com] -
PennsylvaniaHigh School Football scores, rankings, discussion, etc.
*flagicon|Oklahoma [http://www.coachesaid.com/ Oklahoma Coaches Aid] Oklahoma Football
*flagicon|South Carolina [http://www.carolinapreps.com/ North & South Carolina HS Football] - Chris Hughes' Carolina Preps Online Magazine, Scores, Forums, Schedules, and Blogs!!!
*flagicon|Tennessee [http://www.hsfdatabase.com/ High School Football Database] - Historical high school football scores and more for the state of Tennessee
*flagicon|Texas [http://www.5atexasfootball.com/ 5ATexasFootball.com]
*flagicon|Texas [http://www.theoldcoach.com/ TheOldCoach.com]
*flagicon|Texas [http://www.texasfootball.com/ Texasfootball.com] Dave Campo's Texas Football
*flagicon|Texas [http://www.lonestarfootball.net/ LoneStarFootball.net] - scores and historical information covering the entire state.
*flagicon|Texas [http://www.texashsfootball.com/ TexasHSFootball.com] - posts scores, shows statewide rankings, and has a message board for HS football in Texas
*flagicon|Virginia [http://www.vhsl-reference.com/ VHSL-Reference] - VHSL-Reference.Virginia High School Football Ratings, Rankings, Game Predictions & Game Simulater. It is not sponsored by the VHSL.
*flagicon|Washington [http://www.meridianfootball.com/statewide/ Washington Statewide Stats Project] - Moderated user-submitted football stats for Washington state, including stats back to the 1970s.
*flagicon|Wisconsin [http://wissports.net/sports/football/ Wisconsin Sports Network] - Scores, stats, rankings, and forums regarding High School football in Wisconsin.
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