AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese

Savarese

There is nothing like the excitement of high school football playoffs in cities and communities across Alabama.

While each team will be trying to advance to the state championship, the outcome of the games is only a part of the experience for those individuals in attendance.

Why? Because the people in the stands at high school football playoffs are moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers, neighbors down the street, fellow students, and longtime residents of the community. People in the bleachers know the players on the field. Win or lose, their support and love is always there.

There is no tradition in sports with the history of high school football.

In Alabama, the first game confirmed was in 1892 — when the Alabama School for the Deaf played the Anniston Military Institute and tied 0-0. By the time the AHSAA formed in 1921, more than 100 high schools in Alabama were playing football.

Guntersville and Albertville recently completed their 105th meeting, dating back to 1914. Albertville’s Aggies won 24-21 in a series that now stands at 52-47-6 in Guntersville’s favor. Clarke County also has two on-going series that have reached 104 games — county rivals Jackson and Thomasville.

Although there are more options for entertainment on a Friday night than ever before, there is still nothing to match high school football playoffs in the fall.

With all the people attending games of the 14,247 high schools that play football, expect more than 10 million fans each Friday night — easily the No. 1 fan base in the country.

As you attend high school football playoff games this year in Alabama, remember that the players, coaches and game officials deserve your utmost support, encouragement and respect.

While advancing in the playoffs is the desire of each team, the ultimate objective of high school sports and activities is to have fun and enjoy these special years.

We urge you to continue to support the high school teams in your community!

— Steve Savarese is executive director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

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