Every Friday night, fans crowd the stands to watch their team take the field at McKinney’s Ron Poe stadium. With three different schools in town, stakes are high and the pressure is on. But the schools are able to add some fun to the season to make sure it isn't all work and no play.
McKinney Boyd, McKinney North, and McKinney High are all within 10 miles of each other, so football season favorites are bound to be repeated. But that doesn't mean that each school doesn't have its own traditions.
McKinney Boyd is not only the largest team in McKinney, but also the largest school. Boyd’s most popular football season tradition is a bone that is carried around the entire day before a game. The player with the best performance in the week’s previous game gets to carry the bone from class to class to represent the team. Boyd also has their emblem carved into the school floor that is roped off so students cannot walk on it. The only time the ropes come down, is when the football team, or any other organization and sport make it to state. If they make it state, they get to kiss the emblem for good luck.
Although McKinney North is the smallest school, its spirit is not one to be ignored. Along with typical traditions, North also has a group of guys who act as male cheerleaders, but in a funny sense. They help the cheerleaders at games, get the crowd on their feet, wave school flags when a touchdown is scored, dance with the band, and definitely provide the laughs for the game. North calls these guys the guard dawgs. McKinney Boyd and High both have these guys too, but all three bring something different to the table.
McKinney High School is a first-year 5A school and also the longest-standing high school in McKinney. Because of their decades of alumni, they host a pep rally the day of the last home game (senior night) where they honor several distinguished alumni during the pep rally and add them to a "hall of fame" meant for MHS graduates. However, the most popular MHS tradition is Beat the Drum. It takes place the full 24 hours before kick-off of the rivalry game with Boyd or North. Basically there are clubs, organizations,classes and sports who take turns beating a drum from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Friday. Hundreds of students wake up at the crack of dawn to beat this drum, and some students and teachers even miss class to make sure no one ever stops.
Homecoming is the most known high school tradition in the book. Although each school hosts the game, Boyd and North take a more traditional approach to it while MHS does not. North and Boyd both have the game Friday night along with the exchange of mums during the day, followed by a formal dance Saturday night where the guy asks the girl. McKinney High, however, has a Homecoming parade and carnival to kick off the week, and then the game Thursday night and a non-formal dance Friday night. All three schools do however have sprit days the whole week where students and staff dress up according to the themes each day. There are also typical McKinney Homecoming events such as Battle of the Bands and the Powderpuff game where the girls play football and the football players coach.
So, take a Friday night off and go see what all the hype is about at Ron Poe Stadium. Whether you’re a player, parent, or fan McKinney football season always delivers big numbers and loads of school and town spirit.
Teen Talk columnist Catherine Festa is a senior at McKinney High School. Watch for her column and stories throughout the year.