High School Sports

Herald Jamboree has changed a lot since its inception

The 38th Herald Football Jamboree, today at District Three Stadium, is nothing like the first back in 1971.

Put together through the brainstorming of former Herald sports editor Buddy McCarter and former York coach Jimmy Mac Wallace, the first one had eight teams. It was played at Rock Hill's old Municipal Stadium, known for good high school football and baseball, minor league baseball and splinters from sitting on the wood bleachers.

The stadium got a makeover. The name changed to District Three Stadium. The press box was moved to the old visitors side, the baseball diamond was removed and the porch behind home plate and the dressing rooms under the stands were torn down to make room for the new, state-of-the art complex.

York athletics director Steve (Mr. Jamboree) Boyd, has been involved since Day 1. He played in the first Jamboree for the York Green Dragons, coached in it as an assistant at Chester and was head coach at Indian Land, Fort Mill and York.

"Playing in the first one was very unique, was the first Jamboree I'd heard of back then," Boyd said. "We played in the old Municipal Stadium. The infield came all the way out to one end zone and you had play on dirt at that end.

"That was the biggest change. Now you have a synthetic field where you once had dirt. When you walk in District Three Stadium 38 years later, there have been so many upgrades and state-of-the-art improvements -- the lighting, the turf, the stands, the dressing rooms."

The Jamboree has undergone another change since last year -- no grass. Field turf was installed, and today starting at 4 p.m., 12 teams will put it to its heaviest test to date.

Every area team except Clover will be there. The Blue Eagles opted out because they start the regular season next Friday in Week 0.

The lineup is, with home teams listed second:

Period 1: Indian Land vs. Nation Ford

Period 2: Great Falls vs. Lancaster

Period 3: York vs. Lewisville

Period 4: Chester vs. South Pointe

Period 5: Weddington vs. Rock Hill

Period 6: Fort Mill vs. Northwestern

Each pairing plays a regulation two-quarter game. When each group takes the field, play will begin with a kickoff. A running score for home and visitors will be kept.

During the years, several experiments were tried to better enhance the Jamboree.

It has been played with a running clock, shorter periods and longer periods one year that drew a warning from the South Carolina High School League.

Going to regulation 12-minute quarters was agreeable with the teams several years ago, but with so many now involved, there was no way to play the Jamboree on one night at one location and finish before midnight.

The solution was to split the teams and play at two locations on consecutive nights. It was played at York twice and once at District Three South Stadium next to South Pointe High School on Thursday, at District Three Stadium on Friday.

Crowds fell off; fans didn't want to pay to watch two Jamborees and wanted it back like it was in the old days, all the teams at one site. The decision was made to play it on a Saturday this year and move the kickoff to 4 p.m.

"It's football, and let's do it," Northwestern coach Jimmy "Moose" Wallace said. "You get to see every team now and people don't have to go to two places.

"It's great. Can't beat it. Where can you go in the world to see 12 football teams at one time? It's incredible. You can sit back and watch some great football."

Another change was the way the Jamboree is run. Several years ago, the event was handed over to the schools, a big difference from when The Herald ran it.

And there are more teams now. South Pointe, Rock Hill's third high school, made its first appearance in 2006. Nation Ford, Fort Mill's second high school, had its debut last year.

Some teams have come and gone. Union dropped out years ago. Andrew Jackson decided last year was its last because the Volunteers have their own Jamboree.

There were years when a team had to play two quarters because of an uneven number of teams. Weddington's Warriors were added last year to even the field, and are being brought back this year because of Clover's decision.

But some things stay the same.

Proceeds go the participating schools and cheerleaders also get a preseason warm-up. Judges select the Jamboree Spirit Trophy winners. One goes to a home squad. One to a visitors squad.

WANT TO GO?

• What: 38th Herald Football Jamboree

• When: District Three Stadium

• When: Today, beginning at 4 p.m.

• Tickets: $6 at the gate

• Pairings:

Period 1: Indian Land vs. Nation Ford

Period 2: Great Falls vs. Lancaster

Period 3: York vs. Lewisville

Period 4: Chester vs. South Pointe

Period 5: Weddington vs. Rock Hill

Period 6: Fort Mill vs. Northwestern

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