When it comes to the gridiron in the Grand Valley, people have plenty to say

There’s something special about Friday nights during the fall in America.

From coast to coast, high school football teams are battling on the gridiron representing their communities in front of packed stands.

It’s no different in western Colorado.

The Daily Sentinel asked people to describe what the “Friday night lights” are like in Grand Junction.

“It’s all about football. Everyone packing the stadium and watching the game. Every Friday’s been like that. Even in middle school, everyone wanted to go watch Central play because that was the big thing.”
— Scott Clow, Sr. wide receiver, Central High School

“Everyone gets together, gets dressed in red and white and watches the football team. In middle school you would watch older siblings play and hope to be in the stands someday. Now as seniors we get to be right up front, so it’s exciting.”
— Sarah Patrick, Central senior
“It’s the intensity of it here. People come out watching us play. As I grew up watching the ’04 team with Sherraud Roman, I always dreamed of wanting to be like those guys.”
— David Acevedo, senior offensive/defensive lineman, Central High School

“Friday nights are better than any other night. Friday nights are the best crowds we have. I remember times looking up at the stands and it was packed, they had to bring in extra stands, and you hope people love the game enough to where even if they don’t know people that are playing, they will come to a Friday night high school game.”
— Vern McGee, Central High School head coach

“Friday night lights compared to other parts of the country is pretty tame. But you get a situation here where it’s high school football and kids get out and play because they want to. A lot more people understand what it does for the students.”
— Matt Diers, Palisade High School principal

“It’s the one time of week when it seems everyone in town wants to know what’s going on. Who’s playing who. You see people who are driving by on North Avenue looking at the scoreboard. It’s always on the front page of the paper, so Friday night is a big deal.”
— Shawn Miller, athletic trainer, Palisade/Central

“Friday night has an atmosphere that if you’ve played football or been around football anywhere in the country, it’s a feeling you can’t get in any other sport. I compare it to being a teacher where you work all week to get ready to take the test, then Friday night you are taking it in front of four or five thousand people.”
— Greg King, athletic director, Grand Junction High School

“It’s high-energy, everyone is real intense and give whatever you got on a Friday night. There is a feeling in the air that is different on Fridays.”
—Brett Dana, Sr. linebacker, Fruita Monument

“It’s a different environment and you have all of your friends out there to watch, so you are pumped up about that.”
— Aaron Barger, Sr. defensive back, Fruita Monument

“There is something magical about it. There is an excitement about being out at Stocker Stadium, watching the four valley teams open up their season and there’s nothing like high school football. You get excited about what might happen for these teams.”
— Jim Davis, sports director, KTMM


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