Calling all prep football fans

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 8, 2013

People in the stands at tonight’s high school playoff games means money in the coffers for local schools.

Ted Watson, superintendent of the Andalusia City School System, said a big crowd will be needed during the playoffs for a variety of reasons.

“The Alabama High School Athletic Association runs the tournament,” Watson said. “All of the funds are funneled through them and then they dole it out.”

Watson said a small turnout for a playoff game can be tough on a school, because money from the gate is split three ways between the two participating schools and the AHSAA

“It’s not as much of a financial gain for the home team,” he said. “Not like during the regular season, when the home team keeps all of the money from the gate.”

According to information from the AHSAA, both the home and visiting schools receive 38 percent of ticket money, while 24 percent goes to the AHSAA.

Watson said tickets prices are slightly higher in the playoffs at $8, than the regular season price of $6. Some of that money, along with sales of merchandise and concessions, goes back into a fund that, Watson said, is primarily used for the school’s sports programs.

Watson also said it is important for fans to know that, per the AHSAA rules, the reserved seating used by fans during the regular season will not be available during home playoff games.

“It’s first come, first serve during the playoffs,” he said.

Overall, Watson said he would love to see a huge turnout for tonight’s game, because it helps everyone, including the team. “This is something we don’t need to take for granted,” he said. “There will be plenty of seating and we’re hoping for a big win.”

Andalusia head coach Brian Seymore is also hoping for a big crowd. He said a packed house can make a huge difference in the way a game turns out.

“I just think it’s a huge deal,” Seymore said. “It’d mean a lot for these fans to come out and support this team – show a large mass and really get behind this program, and encourage these kids. It’s a one game season. Everybody understands how important that is.”

The Bulldogs, who have lost in the first round of the playoffs the last four years, are looking to make it over that hurdle this year, Seymore said.

“They’ve put a lot of work in,” he said. “We started back in November last year. These kids have been working year-round.”

Seymore said a large crowd can be intimidating to a visiting team, but can also galvanize the home squad.

“To have that home crowd behind you, including the band and cheerleaders and all of the people involved. It gives you that little bit of extra energy,” Seymore said. “It kind of puts you over the top. It’s definitely important to me that we really get behind these guys because they deserve it. They earned it.”

Andalusia and Childersburg will kickoff Friday night at 7 p.m.