Outside the Huddle is profiling which 10 area football stadiums it feels are the best around as we count down the days until (hopefully) the start of football season in August.
Each facility is rated on four factors – game night atmosphere, design, amenities and team success, as well as testimonials from the home team, the opposition and the enigmatic Blitz himself.
No. 9 Dave S. Walters Memorial Stadium
Location: Homestead High School
First season: 1970
Playing surface: Turf
Named for: Dave S. Walters, who was president of the Homestead Athletics Booster Club. Walters died in 1997 at the age of 44 of muscular dystrophy. Stadium name was adopted in 1998 to honor Walters.
SCORE BREAKDOWN (1 – lowest; 5 – highest)
Game night atmosphere: 3.50
When talking some of the more pristine facilities in the area to watch high school football, Dave S. Walters Memorial Stadium on the campus of Homestead High School is in the conversation.
From the arch over the main entrance to the artificial turf, the facility is first class all around.
Friday nights under the lights at Homestead are special, with ample seating for both home and visiting fans. The Spartans always have a sizable student section that stays engaged with the game, which is a must when rating decent in this category.
The Homestead band, one of the best in the state, has no rival in the area when it comes to on-field halftime shows.
As mentioned above, everything about Dave S. Walters Memorial Stadium has been designed for maximum comfort for both friend and foe. Concession stands are stocked on both sides of the field, along with dual press boxes – one for media and the other for game workers.
In 1997, the current home bleachers were installed on the west side, moving home fans to that side while keeping the “old” bleachers as the new visiting side.
The turf is well maintained and the scoreboard is bright and vibrant.
You do not have to hike far to get to restrooms, and the field is located far enough away from the road that games have that intimate feel.
The concessions stands offer the standard fare and are always well stocked.
(BLITZ NOTE: The sandwiches, drinks and cookies in the bowels of the visiting side press box are always plentiful and tasty)
Team success: 3.5
Homestead’s lone trip to the state championship game was earned with a 9-7 semistate victory over Penn in 1998.
While the Spartans have not hoisted a semistate trophy (home or away) since, the program has had a significant amount of success on Dave S. Walters Memorial Stadium, from postseason titles to NHC and SAC crowns.
Last fall, Homestead pitched back-to-back shutouts of Wayne and South Side at home in weeks 8 and 9 to capture the program’s first-ever SAC regular-season championship.
From 2010-19, the Spartans went 42-12 at Dave S. Walters Memorial Stadium, including six years in which the team suffered one or zero losses at home.
Total score: 13.5
Homestead coach Chad Zolman: I think it’s one of the best in the state. The field is great, the stands are great. A press box on each side of the field. Plenty of room for media and coaches in the press boxes. The visiting coaches have their own spot away from the home side in the press box. There is a hospitality room. The only drawback is there is no locker room close to the field. That will be rectified soon. The best part about a Friday night experience though is the atmosphere. Our student section is the best in the state. Our band is one of the best in the state and our fans are extremely supportive.
Carroll coach Doug Dinan: (Homestead) is an excellent environment for HS football as their student body is very involved. It is nice playing on turf and not having to worry about field conditions. However, the turf surface is just better than average. The facility would be great if it wasn’t for the distance to the locker rooms from the field.
There is something comforting about knowing that everything you need/expect if what you will get at Dave S. Walters Memorial Stadium. Ample parking and seating? Yes. Field conditions not a factor? Yes. Good information via PA and a detailed scoreboard? Yes.
There isn’t anything overly flashy about catching a football game at Homestead, but the crowds are always sizable and the energy is palpable. There are no drawbacks about enjoying a night at Dave S. Walters Memorial Stadium.
(Thanks to Blake Sebring and Adam Schenkel for their assistance in this breakdown)
COMING THURSDAY: No. 8