Friends dance to music while waiting out a rain delay after thunderstorms delayed the game between Zephyrhills and IMG Academy for over an hour on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Zephyrhills. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Three Tampa Bay Times photographers take a look at the happenings under the Friday Night Lights.
For several generations, the high school football game is common ground. Americans still head to the high school on Friday nights to cheer for their children or grandchildren, to support student athletes, show school spirit or to hang out with friends. It’s a place to see and be seen.
During sports assignments, Times photographers fix their lens on the action, deviating occasionally to scan the crowd, photograph the cheerleaders or the band. This time we were curious about the people at the games and what was happening off the field.. On Sept. 16, a rainy Friday night, we visited three high schools in three counties throughout Tampa Bay.
Luis Santana | Pasco County
Heavy rain and stormy conditions held up the game for over an hour when photographer Luis Santana arrived at Zephyrhills High School for their game against visiting school IMG Academy. Zephyrhills High football games are usually well attended and students are known to tailgate before the game, backing up their trucks next to the field. The rain did little to dampen spirits, as most kids present seemed happy to hang out with friends, either holding umbrellas or accepting the wet conditions.
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If rain on your wedding day is good luck then maybe a thunder storm on your homecoming game is even better. The Middleton High crowning of the Homecoming queen and king was scheduled to happen at half time on the field at the Abe Brown Stadium, but the stormy conditions stalled the start of the game and forced the homecoming festivities to move inside the gym. As the angry clouds cleared and the weather delay was lifted, the rivalry game against Blake High was able to be played out for the resilient fans, friends and family that remained to watch from the soaked stands.
Douglas Clifford | Pinellas County
Despite a very active 2022 storm season, which soaked high school football games across Florida, players and fans pushed through a storm delay at Sponger Field in Tarpon Springs, using the time to socialize with friends, pick up a sideline football game and enjoy food. Drizzling rain and thunder failed to deter the grill master from smashing hamburgers onto a flaming pit as fans anticipated the game between the Tarpon Springs and Palm Harbor University High School varsity football teams, in Tarpon Springs.
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