Evans Stadium is the best, with Tecumseh’s Spitzer Stadium a close second.
Nearly every one raised in Clark County goes to a high school football game a few or several times over the years. It’s as common as eating a Schuler’s doughnut.
I have been to every Clark County stadium numerous times. The county has some of the best stadiums in the Miami Valley, and some of the worst.
1. Evans Stadium (Springfield)
Evans is one of the places I spent a lot of my childhood time. My emotions aside, there are plenty of reasons why it’s the county’s best football stadium.
It has the most seating of any county high school, and the bleachers are only about 20 years old and have been well maintained. The home and visitor’s sections are separated, which is a plus in my book. That’s because both sides have their own concessions, restrooms and gates. That helps limit long lines other stadiums have when both fan bases share the same facilities.
Evans Stadium also has sections on the field for bands, which keeps the regular bleacher seating free for fans. It has plenty of parking both behind the home stands and beside Hayward on Clifton Avenue.
Evans Stadium also has on-site locker rooms for both teams underneath the stadium, great lighting, and one of the best high school press boxes in the state.
Even though it is comparatively old to many newer GWOC stadiums like those at Springboro, Northmont and Wayne, Evans is still one of the conference’s best.
2. Spitzer Stadium (Tecumseh)
Spitzer isn’t far behind Evans. It has nearly as much seating as Evans and is well-lit. But the parking situation isn’t as good (if you get there late, you’ll be walking almost from Route 40 to the gate) and there is only one restroom and concession facility for both fans. The gravel track also was a negative, but Tecumseh recently installed a new artificial surface.
Tecumseh is a great place to watch a game. There’s plenty of seating, parking and standing room.
3. Taylor Field (Northwestern)
Though Northwestern has had little football success over the years (which has changed over the last three years under Seth Whiting’s guidance), the school has one of the county’s best football complexes. Complete with a track, ample seating and nice lighting, Taylor Field has all the amenities a Division V school needs.
There is plenty of parking now that the construction is over with easy access back out to Route 41. The downside is that it’s quite a haul back to the new high school from the stadium.
Greenon’s stadium is close behind Taylor Field. The complex has chair back seats, a relatively new sound system and scoreboard, and plenty of seating. It is also the only county school that has press boxes on both sides of the field.
However, there is not much parking room by the stadium.
5. Richard L. Phillips Field (Kenton Ridge)
The first four schools on this list are the county’s top-tier stadiums. Everything else – starting with Kenton Ridge’s Richard L. Phillips Field – can’t stack up because all remaining stadiums have much less seating.
Still, Kenton Ridge has made big improvements to its complex in the last ten years. New visitor’s stands with handicap access have been added, and the old visitor’s stands are used for the Cougars’ band and student section. The home stands also were renovated; the old wood bleachers were removed and replaced with aluminum.
There is enough parking, but it’s either on grass or on the torn-up lot by Middle Urbana Road. The lighting isn’t the best, and it lacks a paved track or walkway.
6. Dave Long Memorial Stadium (Shawnee)
Shawnee and Kenton Ridge have similar fields in many respects. Both stadiums have gravel tracks, lack on-site locker rooms and have grass parking areas.
The lighting at Dave Long Memorial Stadium isn’t powerful enough to brightly illuminate the complex. The bleachers are nice, but small on both sides.
What makes me rank Kenton Ridge over Shawnee is relatively minor. Kenton Ridge isn’t as windy. The open fields that surround Shawnee’s complex seem to make the place a giant wind tunnel.
7. Hallinean Field (Catholic Central)
There’s a big tradition factor with Hallinean Field to some. It’s not one of my favorite places. The visitor’s stands are small, rusty and old. Trying to park around the field is a nightmare. Don’t dare park in the shopping center, unless you want your car towed.
Still, the lighting has been updated in recent years, as the home stands are larger than the county’s other two OHC school stadiums.
Northeastern nearly edges out Catholic Central in my book. The Jets’ stadium has a track and newer seating. But it’s slightly smaller, and like Shawnee, the open fields that surround the school make the place a wind farm.
Though Southeastern is at the bottom of the list, it’s still a neat place to watch a football game, especially if you live in South Charleston. It’s not so neat as a visiting fan. Parking is a hassle, and there is very limited seating on the visitor’s side.
Pick ‘Em Games:
Casey beat me last year for the first time in Top Billing Sports pick ’em history. I look to reclaim the title this year.
Kenton Ridge at Northeastern
Kenton Ridge has dominated the Northeastern Local School District rivalry in recent years. The Cougars have won eight out of the last ten games in the series, including the last five.
The Jets’ program is re-energized around new coach Tim Houseman and looking to make noise early. A win over the reigning CBC Kenton Trail champs would do the trick. But it won’t be easy.
Kenton Ridge returns its leading rusher in Jayden Davis. Davis has an experienced, big and physical offensive line to block for him. The Cougars also have a few new speedy players on offense that could cause problems for the Jets.
Northeastern will have to be stopped, too. The Jets will be a run-first team as in previous seasons and have an experienced senior class back.
The Jets may have too much on their hands against Kenton Ridge, though. I pick the Cougars to keep their inter-district winning streak alive.
My pick: Kenton Ridge. Casey’s pick: Kenton Ridge.
Southeastern at Northwestern
Southeastern debuts its new triple-option offense on Friday at Taylor Field. The Trojans spread the field in recent seasons and had success with the likes of Reed Florence at quarterback. They’ll have to stop the Warriors’ spread offense on Friday.
Northwestern returns several starters on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Trevor Gebby, its top two rushers and its top four receivers.
The Warriors escaped South Charleston with a 14-7 win last year. Since Southeastern is relatively young this year, I look for the experienced Warriors’ to win again.
My pick: Northwestern. Casey’s pick: Northwestern.
Greenon at Catholic Central
Neither Greenon nor Catholic Central won a game last season. Central hasn’t won a game on the field since 2012. It’s a chance for both teams to end long losing streaks and gain momentum in 2015.
Catholic Central returns several key players to this season’s team and has some experienced upperclassmen. They’re the same group that has been on the losing side of many lopsided scores the last two seasons.
Greenon is moving to the Wing-T this year, but will have to improve with new players. The Knights lose their top eight tacklers from last season and every skill position starter.
Both teams should be motivated to break their losing streaks. Central nearly broke its losing streak last season against another CBC Mad River team in Graham. The Falcons beat Central 6-0, with the only score coming on a long touchdown run.
Central’s experience should help it break its losing streak on Friday.
My pick: Catholic Central. Casey’s pick: Catholic Central.
Springfield at Dublin Coffman: My pick: Dublin Coffman. Casey’s pick: Dublin Coffman.
Tecumseh at Fairborn: My pick: Fairborn. Casey’s pick: Fairborn.
Shawnee at Butler: My pick: Butler. Casey’s pick: Butler.
Graham at Tippecanoe: My pick: Tippecanoe. Casey’s pick: Tippecanoe.
London at Urbana: My pick: Urbana. Casey’s pick: Urbana.
Valley View at West Liberty-Salem: My pick: WL-S. Casey’s pick: WL-S.
West Jefferson at Mechanicsburg: My pick: Mechanicsburg. Casey’s pick: Mechanicsburg.
Triad at Indian Lake: My pick: Indian Lake. Casey’s pick: Indian Lake.
GWOC games of interest:
Troy at Chaminade-Julienne: My pick: Troy. Casey’s pick: Chaminade-Julienne.
Alter at Fairmont: My pick: Alter. Casey’s pick: Alter.
Trotwood-Madison at Pickerington Central: My pick: Pickerington Central. Casey’s pick: Pickerington Central.
Thurgood Marshall at Miamisburg: My pick: Miamisburg. Casey’s pick: Miamisburg.
Beavercreek at Xenia: My pick: Xenia. Casey’s pick: Xenia.