It’s often said high school football in Texas is like a religion. From the prolific players and intense fans to the multi-million dollar stadiums that rival many college stadiums. Texans love high school football and in a little over two weeks, towns across the state will fire up the Friday night lights for yet another season.
Regardless of classification, one can look into the stands at a Texas high school football game and find young men sporting their team’s jerseys while studying every single move of their favorite player. For a brief period of time, high school football players have a status in their community unlike any other athlete.
Some find the glorification of high school football a disservice to the young men who are more likely to enter the workforce than to ever play on the next level. Like it or not, high school football in Texas is king and communities shell out big bucks to make sure no other state can rival Texas.
According to Texasbob.com, the state of Texas has 1,305 active football stadiums. Together, those stadiums hold a staggering 4,130,440 people. That’s more than the population of 25 different states.
While many teams continue to play in their original stadiums, some teams have hit the jackpot and play in stadiums which include state of the art weight rooms, locker rooms, field turff, and video scoreboards.
McKinney’s 63+ million dollar stadium ruffled the feathers of high school football opponents. With a capacity of 12,000 fans, the stadium is far from the largest in the state. That honor goes to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, which holds 20,500 fans. There are a total of nine stadiums in Texas which hold more than 16,500 fans, with schools seeking options every year for bigger and better stadiums.
While bigger districts have more financial resources when it comes to building new stadiums, small schools throughout the state have made the switch from grass to artificial turf, which costs upwards of $1 million. In fact, some schools receive outside donations solely for naming rights to the stadium or field.
As the Friday night lights glow across the state in 2016, a new generation will walk into the stands as their team takes the field. Before the end of the game, you can bet every player will hear the roar of the crowd, look into the stands and freeze their moment in time.