Every year, just as a hint of autumn hits the air, a time-honored tradition again plays out at high schools across St. Johns 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.

“Nothing beats Friday Night Lights!” say the folks at the St. Johns County Student Support Services Department, Athletics.

“The student body, band and energy are unmatched. High School football games in St. Johns County are a great community event with unrivaled student spirit. We have some of the largest student spirit sections in Florida.”

“Parents and alumni enjoy the history and tradition that come with high school football here and the excitement that comes with watching the county rivalries.”

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.

Folks at the school district also suggest purchasing your tickets electronically.


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

  • Bartram Trail High, home of The Bears

  • Beachside High, home of The Barracudas

  • Creekside High, home of The Knights

  • Pedro Menendez High, home of The Falcons

  • Allen D. Nease High, home of The Panthers

  • Ponte Vedra High, home of The Sharks

  • St. Augustine High, home of The Yellow Jackets

  • Tocoi Creek High, home of The Toros

The district has an impressive list of accolades and made-it-to-the-next-level athletes, including Heisman Trophy-winning Quarterback Tim Tebow, who attended Nease High School and graduated in 2006.

Tebow played for the Florida Gators and later went on to the NFL and played for the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, NY Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars.

For more information on St. Johns County School District, visit www.StJohns.k12.fl.us.


Photos credit: St. Johns County School District