Every year, just as a hint of autumn hits the air, a time-honored tradition again plays out at high schools across Volusia County and, indeed, across the country.

Dusk settles in, and with a click, lights illuminate a playing field as gridiron warriors trot across the freshly manicured grass. It’s Friday night, and it’s time for football.

“There is nothing better than being under the lights watching football, the cheerleaders, the band [and] the ROTC Color Guard and cheering on your school,” says Lary Beal, Volusia County Schools athletic director.

“Whether you’re a football fanatic or just enjoy talking with friends, teachers and staff outside of the classroom and building lifelong friendships, there is something for everyone at high school football games.”

Beal says for students, it is a part of high school life that most people will never experience again, and it’s a great way to support your school and your classmates after each week of classes is over.

He notes parents will also find high school football games a great chance to support their school and their children through their school spirit, as well as relive their own high school days.

“Alumni have the chance to give back to where they came from, see the changes over the years and reminisce through today’s youth that are following in their footsteps,” says Beal.

But there’s more to enjoying the big game than just showing up. Here’s how.


  • Pack a cushion and bring a blanket for maximum comfort. Bleacher seats can become uncomfortable after sitting for a while, so a cushion comes in handy to make it through the final play. Also, a blanket, whether draped across your legs or wrapped around your shoulders, keeps you cozy as the sun sets and temperatures drop.

  • Dress comfortably and in layers; don’t forget thunderstorms can pop up, so consider bringing a poncho.

  • Attend any game you wish, but remember the home-field advantage: home games are fun games. You’ll find more camaraderie and enthusiasm with like-minded fans.

  • Show spirit and wear school colors. It doesn’t matter if it’s a jacket, jersey, ribbons in your hair, painted nails or face paint; it’s all about showing your love for the team.

  • Follow the rules of the road. Whatever guidelines the school/stadium has established, abide by them.

  • Sit with friends to make the most of the game. It’s a real boost of fun to share the experience with your besties.

  • Support the school by buying the occasional spirit button or pin, program and the like.

  • Check your impatience at the door. Whenever there is a competition going on, emotions run high. If a play doesn’t go your way, remember good sportsmanship. A “Boo!” may be warranted, but not any rants or raves, especially with profanity.

  • Grab the snacks and visit the bathroom before halftime. Once the game breaks, it can be crazy with crowds at both locations.

  • Get into the halftime show. It’s not just the football players on the field putting out their best for your entertainment; it’s also the band and the cheerleaders. Root them on too.

  • Participate in the game. Besides cheering with each goal, participate in the call-and-response cheers from cheerleaders to kick up the spirit.

  • Be supportive, from the students working the concession stand to the cheerleaders, athletes and more; they are still kids, and a smile or kind word can be a good show of encouragement.

Another tip from Beal is to reach out to the athletic director at the school you are interested in and ask about season passes for stadium entrance or for parking.


There are plenty of opportunities to get out and catch a game. Here are the high schools across Volusia County.

  • Atlantic High School Sharks, play at school field, Daytona Municipal Stadium or Spruce Creek High

  • DeLand High School Bulldogs, play at Spec Martin Stadium

  • Deltona High School Wolves, play at school field

  • Mainland High School Buccaneers, play at Daytona Municipal Stadium

  • New Smyrna Beach Barracudas, play at New Smyrna Beach Airport Sports Complex

  • Pine Ridge High School Panthers, play at school field

  • Seabreeze High School Sandcrabs, play at Daytona Municipal Stadium

  • Spruce Creek High School Hawks, play at school field

  • T. DeWitt Taylor Middle-High School Wildcats, play at school field

  • University High School Titans, play at school field

There’s a long list of titles and athletes of note, including:

  • Mainland High School, State Runner-up in 2022

  • DeLand High School, State Runner-up in 2009

  • Mainland High School, State Champion in 2003

For more information on Volusia County Schools, visit www.VCSedu.org