Just here to spark a little bit of fun debate during the off-season! Our writers blind voted on their favorite stadiums in our viewing area, and these were the results. I’m sure everyone will have their own opinion, so let us hear your opinions and what we got wrong!
Each stadium write up is written by a member of the schools community.
1. Fannin County High School
Fannin County High School Football Stadium comes in at #1 on our FYN Sports Top Football Stadium in our Coverage Area.
Although the stadium has no nickname, it is often been referred to in the past as “The Battlefield”
Fannin County may have the best entrance in all of Georgia. The Rebels walk out of their locker-room directly to a gigantic blow up Fannin County Football Helmet. Coach Cheatham usually is the 1st one to break open the facemask on the helmet and the Fannin County Football team walks onto the field with arms locked. The cannon fires, the smoke rises, music blares, lights go out and then flash from pole to pole. It is a striking entrance and one that every High School Football fan needs to see.
Yes, we mentioned a Cannon. And yes, it does fire. Every time Fannin County enters the stadium and scores a Touchdown the Cannon is shot and is heard throughout the town of Blue Ridge. Yes, we mentioned Lights cutting off and flashing. Every time a Touchdown is scored Fannin County’s LED Light system will flash from pole to pole igniting the roar of the Fannin County 12th man.
Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is played and PA Announcer Tim Towe famous “ITS 3rd DOWN” sparks the Rebel Nation to make noise on 3rd Down.
I think if you witnessed a game here during Fannin County’s magical season last season you would agree with our choice.
The Stadium is a true 12th man Atmosphere. Powered by everything we have mentioned and the award winning Fannin County High School Marching band, the cheerleaders and “The Blue Crew” ( Student Section) Fannin County is our choice for Top Stadium in our coverage area.
2. Murphy High School
David Gentry Field at Bob Hedrix memorial stadium is nothing short of picturesque. The location of the stadium is one of it’s best qualities, being right off the road and allowing passers by to honk their car horns and cheer on the Dogs, whether that be on Friday night or Tuesday afternoon at practice. Watching the team walk down the hill at 7:27 on Friday night just before kickoff is electric. The sun setting behind the visiting bleachers on a crisp fall evening is really something to behold. Dont even get me started on the sheer history of what’s been accomplished on that field. 10 state championship teams have played under those lights, and for the past 40 years, perhaps the greatest High School football coach of all time has coached on that sideline. Add to that JR Carrol shouting “1st and 10 Bulldogs” over the speakers, you’ve got a recipe for one of the greatest high school football atmospheres in the country.
They don’t call it “BULLDOG COUNTRY” for nothin’.
Former Dogs Head Coach & Hall of Famer David Gentry said, “There’s no better high than the one you get on Friday nights in Murphy between the hours of 7:30 & 9:30. That feeling you get for those two hours, it’s unattainable anywhere else.”
3. Robbinsville High School
Robbinsville’s Big Oaks Stadium is a rethink-your-ranking kind of stadium. A truly historical field, it has hosted the home games of over 50 years of Black Knight football teams without ever being moved to a new location. The stadium is also directly adjacent to the original “old rock” schoolhouse of the 1900s.
The field is not the only piece of historical significance—the players themselves, often generational descendants of fellow state champions, give the Friday Night aesthetic of a Robbinsville Black Knights’ football game the aura of dominance. These boys know the magnitude of what they are playing for.
With 14 State Titles earned on its grass, the Big Oaks guarantees you a night of knock-down and drag-out, old-fashioned football, complete with rows of aged-oak trees, and a sunset view over its Smoky Mountain backdrop. Being the true embodiment of the AC/DC rock hit—Back In Black—the Big Oaks Stadium is THE must see stop of any stadium tour.
4. Union County High School
We look to Union County’s Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium a.k.a “The Mike.” There are many great high school football venues; not many, however, pack a 1-2 punch with a beautiful view and electric atmosphere like this one.
This venue offers a beautiful turf field and an even more astounding view of the crisp Blue Ridge Mountains. Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium is one that you’ll never forget, one that provides a bit of everything you could ever want on a Friday night underneath the lights!
5. Pickens County High School
Starting this year, #TeamFYNsports will be bringing you their top football games of the week for our local area football teams. This week, we have some rivalries on the horizon, with four local area teams going head to head.
Team FYN sports director Jake West and Fannin County Rec. Department Athletic Coordinator Tim Towe will also be giving you their picks to win these games of the week and we will be tracking their pick ’em record going forward.
- Fannin County Rebels @ Union County Panthers
If there was ever a year for Fannin County to be able to break their 6 year losing streak agains the Union County Panthers, it would be this year. Fannin is coming off an impressive 5-6 season last year, and with all the returning upper-classmen they have this year, this is the year that they have to make some moves. Even Coach Chad Cheatham said himself at media day, they are poised to make a run. Union County on the other hand is coming off of a 10-2 record last year, where it looked like they were going to go deep into the playoffs until losing a 7-14 game against Metter High School. Head Coach Brian Allison has turned Union County into a juggernaut over there in Blairsville, losing a combined four games in the past two years. However with the loss of their starting Quarterback Pierson Allison to graduation, we will if the newcomer behind center can handle the pressure of Friday Night Lights.
Jake’s Pick: Union County
Tim’s Pick: Fannin County
2. Gilmer County Bobcats @ Pickens Dragons
The Pickens Dragons finished 2019 with a 6-5 overall record and tied for third in their division. Their offense was crazy hot last year, putting up an average of 31.6 points. We will see if they have improved any on the defensive side of the ball however, where they managed to give up an average of 26.2 points per game in the previous season. When watching Pickens last year however, one of their more impressive games came against then region rival Gilmer, who they will be playing to kickoff this season. This season the anticipated Gilmer-Pickens game will not be a region game due to the realignment that took place in the offseason. Even though this is not going to be a region game this year, you can tell that it still means just as much to the players and coaches as it did when it counted against their region record. Gilmer is coming off of a 4-6 overall record last year in 2019. But, as rebuilds go it looks like Gilmer is on the backend of theirs and should start putting together some winning teams. Also, with Gilmer being bumped down a level, their opponents in their new region should play more to their level. I just think that the speed and power of the Pickens offense will be too much for the Bobcats to handle.
Jake’s Pick: Pickens County
Tim’s Pick: Gilmer County
Following the weekly meeting with the Sports Medicine Advisory Council, Georgia High School Association Executive Director Robin Hines announced that the GHSA will be moving forward with the September fourth football start date for the opening of the 2020 season.
After the Sports Medicine Advisory Council meeting, director Hines spoke with the Athens Banner-Herald in regard to the number of COVID-19 cases across the state, but was confident that the season would return on the now delayed football start date of September fourth.
Hines told the Athens Banner-Herald, “While the numbers aren’t what we would prefer right now, they’re trending down, we feel good about that, and pending some spikes between now and then, my recommendation is going to be that we go ahead and play.”
The GHSA has previously reported that there will be around 70 Georgia football teams of 425 total that are unlikely to play the first week of the season because of coronavirus concerns dictated by their school district or private schools.
Included in the list of teams that will be sitting out for the week of September 4th are 19 DeKalb County teams, 16 Fulton County teams, 8 Savannah-Chatham teams, and 6 Bibb county teams. Several other teams across the state will also be sitting out until given the OK from their administrators and school board.
Tennessee will begin their High School football season tonight, and they have already released their guidelines for spectators and fines which can be found HERE. Viewing this should help give GHSA fans a little insight in what to expect come September fourth when Georgia returns to Friday night lights.
The Georgia High School Association has released “strongly recommended” game-day operation guidelines in order for the high school football season to proceed as normal when it opens for good on September Fourth. These game-day guidelines and recommendations are given to spectators and parents in order to ensure that the football season will be able to continue and so that these student athletes are able to play a whole season. The whole list of guidelines can be found HERE.
Game Day Venue Restrictions
- Local school administrators, in consultation with local health departments and health care professionals should determine what personnel (cheerleaders, band, mascots, dance team, etc.) should participate in events. It is strongly recommended to take into consideration the venue’s ability to safely allow for and enforce proper physical distancing.
- The media accommodations will be handled by host school personnel.
- GHSA member schools should follow the guidance of local, state, and federal recommendations as it pertains to spectator events and stadium capacity restrictions if such information becomes available.
- It is highly recommended that spectators have their temperature assessed prior to entering the competition venue and should be denied entry if higher than 100.4 degrees.
- It is highly recommended that spectators always wear a facemask/covering possible. □ Spectators should be restricted from direct competition areas and from visiting with student athletes and personnel before, during and after events.
- Spectators should always practice social distancing whenever possible. Household members are excluded.
- Local school administrators, in consultation with local health departments, should determine whether “to-go” meals for their student-athletes in individualized, single packaged containers should be permitted.
- If sales at concession stands are permitted, they must follow state guidelines for “Restaurants, Bars, and Banquet & Catering Facilities/Services” as outlined in the current Governor’s Executive Order
- If sales at concession stands are permitted, concession workers should wear masks and gloves in accordance with state mandates.
- Any worker should be screened before they are permitted to perform work duties in the concession.
- If sales at concession stands are permitted, individuals in line for concessions should practice physical distancing.
- If sales at concession stands are permitted, precautions for social distancing should always be adhered to.
The GHSA has reported that over 600 players and coaches have tested positive for COVID since voluntary workouts began on June 8th.
The Georgia High School Association sent out and email on Tuesday, where they confirmed that they have had a reported 655 positive tests, including over 1,000 screen outs. Screen outs are when a player or coach is held out of practice due to a high temperature check or health questionnaire.
Several local area teams have stopped and started workouts since the June 8th restart, due to complications with the virus.
These numbers that he GHSA has released are not entirely accurate, as the GHSA does not require positive tests to be reported to the association, however it is encouraged so that the data can be compiled and used in the decision making process.
“The data is aggregate and for decision-making purposes,” GHSA associate director Don Corr said in Tuesdays email. “It is our belief that this data is incomplete and varies due to individual infectious disease plans formulated by each member school.”
6 GHSA teams have reported to the GHSA that they are shutting down their practice’s this week. There could be more since the GHSA also does not require practice activity to be reported either. The teams that are not practicing currently are Morgan County, Putnam County, Greene County, Social Circle and Lincoln County in east and central Georgia and Lakeside in DeKalb County.
Each school district has their own protocol in dealing with the positive coronavirus cases, as the GHSA has decided to give the power to the schools instead of setting a governing body of rules.