Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Cotton Bowl to host Jesuit, Flower Mound high school football game
High school football will return to the Cotton Bowl this fall for the first time since the late 1990s.
Jesuit and Flower Mound will face each other Aug. 26, in zero week, at the Cotton Bowl as part of the third annual North Texas Football Classic.
“The Cotton Bowl is a nice venue,” said John Weaver, an organizer for the event. “That’s why we chose it. Let’s give it a shot.”
He said they had originally wanted a Friday night game at Pizza Hut Park, where they will hold the other game of the North Texas Football Classic on Saturday, Aug. 27. Their next options were at SMU’s Ford Stadium and at the Cotton Bowl, and the schedule worked for the Cotton Bowl. Cotton Bowl manager Roland Rainey said that they had discussed plans for several months and that the Cotton Bowl had recently attempted to host a high school football game in the playoffs.
The Cotton Bowl was once a routine venue for high school football. The Dallas ISD held tripleheaders and quadrupleheaders there on weekends in the 1970s. From then until the late 1990s, high schools often played playoff games there.
So, why so long without a high school game? It starts with scheduling. Rainey explained that the State Fair festivities prevent any high school event from taking place from Labor Day to nearly mid-November.
And once the Cotton Bowl switched to grass, it created another obstacle. The Cotton Bowl couldn’t host events on the grass in December in order to preserve the field for the Cotton Bowl Classic, which was held there through the 2008 football season.
The switch to grass also alienated area high school teams, which have played almost entirely on artificial turf in recent years.
But the natural grass doesn’t worry Flower Mound coach Cody Vanderford.
“The turf there is quality turf,” he said. “It will be in great shape.”
Rainey and Weaver would like to see the Cotton Bowl return as a desired destination for high school football.
“We’d like to do some more of them,” Rainey said. “Hopefully we can work something out on a yearly basis.”