There was a time, not too many years ago, when football fans knew the regular season was drawing near. They could mark a single date on their calendar, usually the third Friday in August, for The Herald Football Jamboree at District Three Stadium.
All The Herald-area schools participated, each squaring off for one quarter. Throngs of students and parents would fill the stands. Some fans stayed just long enough to see their school play while others squeezed every ounce of pigskin pleasure out of the night.
The regular season began the following Friday night. It was that way for 38 years. That string ended with the 2008 event.
The Herald Jamboree fell victim to the economy and the pressures of hosting such a large event. The area schools now play at various locales and most events are called something other than a jamboree.
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There will be four such preseason football gatherings this weekend. Chester High School stadium is the site for three scrimmages featuring six teams starting at 5:30 p.m. today. York Comprehensive will show off its new stadium at 6:30 p.m. this evening with four teams in action.
Bob Jones Stadium at Fort Mill High will play host to six teams at 5 p.m. on Saturday and at 6 p.m., District Three Stadium has a half-dozen teams set to take the field.
The Chester County Football Jamboree will see Westminster Catawba, under first-year coach Dan Devine, take on Lewisville. The second contest has Fairfield Central pitted against Lancaster. Chester fans will have an interest in that game since the Griffins play in the same region with the Cyclones.
The final game will have Great Falls and Chester doing battle. Chester is led by Clemson-bound quarterback Tony McNeal. Running back Julius Pendergrass has the eye of college recruiters as well.
The Bank of York Preseason Scrimmage is drawing a lot of interest, maybe as much for its new stadium as the football that will be played on its turf field.
The first game will be a dandy between Clover and South Pointe. Clover runs the wing-t offense. South Pointe has the nation's top recruit Jadeveon Clowney and another prized defensive lineman, Gerald Dixon.
The night cap will give Cougars' fans a good look at their team against Gaffney. The Indians quarterback DeEdward Burris is a fun one to watch.
The Battle at the Border features four South Carolina schools and three North Carolina schools. Indian Land and Forest Hills (N.C.) kick off the night.
Myers Park (N.C.) plays the middle two segments taking on Lancaster and then Nation Ford. Fort Mill will play Harding (N.C.) in the finale.
The Groucho's District Three Challenge will welcome former Lancaster football coach Johnny Roscoe back to the area. Roscoe will lead his Northern Guilford (N.C.) team against South Pointe to begin the night.
Rock Hill plays reigning Class AAAA Division I state champ Dorman in the second scrimmage. Northwestern's "Air Raid" offense goes up against Boiling Springs to wrap up the evening.
Next Friday, the final preseason event will take place at Lancaster's Memorial Stadium. The Founders Kick-Off Scrimmage will have four scrimmages: McBee vs. Andrew Jackson; Fort Mill vs. Buford; Central vs. Great Falls and Indian Land vs. Lancaster.
Want to Go?
Chester County Football Jamboree
When: Today, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Chester High School stadium
Who: Westminster Catawba vs. Lewisville; Fairfield Central vs. Lancaster; Great Falls vs Chester
The Bank of York Pre-Season Scrimmage
When: Today, 6:30 p.m.
Where: New York Comprehensive High School stadium, 275 East Alexander Love Highway
Who: South Pointe vs. Clover; York vs. Gaffney
Battle at the Border
When: Saturday, 5 p.m.
Where: Bob Jones Stadium at Fort Mill High School
Who: Indian Land vs. Forest Hills (N.C.); Lancaster vs. Myers Park (N.C.); Nation Ford vs. Myers Park; Fort Mill vs. Harding (N.C.)
Groucho's District Three Challenge
When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Where: District Three Stadium
Who: South Pointe vs. Northern Guilford (N.C.); Rock Hill vs. Dorman; Northwestern vs. Boiling Springs
Founders Kick-Off Scrimmage
When: Friday, August 20; 6 p.m.
Where: Lancaster Memorial Stadium
Who: McBee vs. Andrew Jackson; Fort Mill vs. Buford; Central vs. Great Falls; Indian Land vs. Lancaster
Tickets: $6 at the gate, $5 in advance at any participating school.