'Meet the Hillbillies': Football in the flats
Last Thursday afternoon, I attended the Fredericksburg Middle School seventh grade football games at the Fredericksburg High School Stadium.
The Battlin’ Billies were playing the Boerne Greyhounds, and I arrived at the stadium just about the time the Greyhounds came rolling in to the parking lot.
Not long thereafter, the Billies also arrived at the field house from their cross-town trek from the middle school.
These days, the teams travel in “modern-day” buses and play on artificial grass surfaces and other than getting sweaty and suffering from an occasional bloody nose, the players don’t really get dirty — not the way players did years ago.
Last week one day, while paging through a back issue of the Standard-Radio Post, I ran across an “Around the Square” column that Art Kowert penned back in 1997, in which he tells about the early days of football in the community.
In that column, he recalled that high school football was played in Fredericksburg as far back as 1924.
Since there was no stadium or football field, the first games were played on a grass burr and mesquite flat down in the South Heights section of town, which today is across Barons Creek, past McDonald’s and south toward the livestock auction.
Not long thereafter, games moved to the Gillespie County Fair Grounds, site of the present-day H-E-B on South Adams Street.
From there, action moved to the football field on the north side of the public school campus, now Fredericksburg Middle School.
Art remembered that a tree in the west end zone always caused concern for the visiting teams.
Lights were installed at the field in 1939 and were made possible by the sale of public subscription. Fortunately, enough money was raised in just a few years to reimburse the people who had contributed.
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