High school football, sometimes known as prep football or prep football, dates back to the late 1800s, coinciding with the establishment of several college football teams. Many college and high school teams competed against one another in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As college sports expanded beyond the boundaries of the United States in order to attract new fans and revenue, so did high school football. Today, many major colleges and universities recruit primarily among high school players.
College football began holding open practices during World War II so soldiers could observe the action but no coaches were used because of the shortage of men's bodies in training camps. When play resumed after the war, these veterans helped establish the modern game by making rules changes to protect themselves from injury and create a faster pace of play. One rule change that stands out is the substitution penalty, which allows coaches to replace injured players on the field without losing time. This protection came at a price, though: The substitute had to be an athlete able to run down the field if needed. Today, college athletes can make millions of dollars in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and other leagues while earning a degree. But they didn't always have this opportunity; prior to the 1970s, most college athletes only had access to community college or junior college before being recruited into higher-level programs.
Junior college football started in 1946 when six schools agreed to meet once a year to play each other.
Gridiron football is a sport played by high school teams in the United States and Canada. In both nations, it is one of the most popular interscholastic sports. High school football originated in the late 1800s, around the same time as many collegiate football teams began. Community groups would form clubs to play each other on weekends or during holidays. These games often included local high schools as well as low-level colleges.
As football became more popular, larger schools with organized programs started playing for championships at the end of the season. These big schools persuaded or coerced smaller schools into joining them by offering to teach those schools' players how to coach. Smaller schools who joined this system learned their lesson quickly: to survive in the competitive world of high school football, they needed help from outside sources. So beginning in the 1920s, small schools began to hire full-time coaches who were paid salaries similar to those of college football coaches.
Over time, these full-time coaches came to be regarded as the real stars of the game. They recruited and trained new players and developed strategies that countered the tactics used by opposing teams. Today, they are usually high school teachers by profession but still manage their own personal coaching staffs.
In the United States, most states have adopted some variation of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) rule book to regulate football activities at their schools.
There are significant distinctions between the NFL and high school football, including key rules, viewing experience, and game action. The NFL and high school football both play on the same sized field, which is 100 yards long with ten yard end zones on each sides. However, in high school football, there is no requirement for players to be uniformed, while in the NFL, players have to wear regular clothing. In addition, high school football games are usually played during weekdays at approximately noon, while NFL games are often played at various times on Sunday afternoons.
Another difference between the NFL and high school football is that in the former, only two players are allowed to be on the field at a time, while in high school football, multiple players can be active at once. For example, in high school football, when a player is tackled they can either go out of bounds or into the open field. If they go out of bounds, they lose 5 yards, but if they stay in the open field, they can find another player to pass to or run with.
In the NFL, however, players can only advance 10 yards before they must come out of the game. If they stay in too long, they will be penalized with a loss of down. A high school player who stays on the field too long could also be injured because they are not wearing protective gear such as helmets.
Every state in the United States has high school football. For many students, sports are an important part of their high school experience. Over 15 million teens are in grades 9–12 in the United States today, and over 8 million of them—7,937,491 to be exact—play high school sports. This number includes 1,242 girls' basketball players, 695 boys' basketball players, and 3,547 wrestlers.
There is no national organization that tracks statistics on high school athletes; however, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHSA), more than 15 million teenagers participate in high school athletics at the school level. The NFSHSA estimates that there are approximately 7,937,491 participants in high school sports. There are 1,242 girls' basketball players, 695 boys' basketball players, and 3,547 wrestlers.
The vast majority of these athletes compete in baseball, basketball, football, or wrestling. Other popular sports include American football, auto racing, cycling, diving, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and water polo.
Almost all states require students to attend school until they turn 18 years old. Many high schools have a graduation requirement of their own for those who want to continue their education.
The Prep Bowl, which began in 1927 and annually paired the Public League football winner against the Catholic League champion in Soldier Field, was the most prominent high-school tournament in Chicago. At its peak in the late 1930s, the bowl drew more than 100,000 spectators. However, after World War II, interest in the game waned and by the early 1950s, no school from Illinois played in the event.
In 1955, Mayor Daley brought back Memorial Day weekend as a time to honor those who died fighting for their country. The holiday was made an official city holiday that year so that schools could be closed on May 30th. The first all-Chicago high school football game was played on June 4th at Wrigley Field with Paul Bunyan's Bluejackets defeating Carl Sandburg High School 26-7. The Holiday Festival Championship Game started in 1966 when De La Salle Institute defeated St. Francis de Sales College 34-7 at Soldier Field. This is now considered the first season of NFL football in Chicago because it was on NBC that first year. The NFL didn't return to Chicago until 1970 when the Chicago Bears were born.
The California high school football season has been postponed until December 2020 or January 2021. The California Interscholastic Federation, the state's regulatory organization for high school athletics, said Monday that the football season and the rest of the autumn sports will begin in December 2020. The spring sports will start as scheduled in March or April.
For now, most schools are planning to go ahead with fall practices and games as planned but coaches should use caution not to burn out their players too early on the sidelines.
The CIF announced last week that it was postponing all interscholastic activities through October 15 due to concerns about COVID-19. The move comes a day after Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars and restaurants to close their dining rooms to dine-in customers in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. Although high school football is not considered a life-threatening illness, those who suffer from COVID-19 may experience symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some people may also have no symptoms at all. As we wait for more information about how this virus affects humans, it's important that athletes, coaches, and administrators take precautions to protect themselves and others from contracting the disease.