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Official Review by Zach Earnest, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
When looking for good high school football in Central Florida, you have many of options; especially in Seminole County. With eight schools having football programs, there is plenty to cheer for and the fans in this county have aligned with their favorite school, or whichever school they’ve attended, and will cheer for them, win or lose.
Within recent years Lyman has been a competitive program and is very exciting to watch. The program’s alumni have some impressive names such as Ian Williams, a Defensive End who went on to Notre Dame and the San Francisco 49ers. Other names include Greg Gooch of Indiana University, Niko Firios playing at the University of Kentucky, Nick Hensley a Tight End at Ohio Northern University, as well as Andre Robinson of Tulane. These are just some of the players to go on from Lyman to play college football.
While attending a Lyman Greyhounds football game you’ll get a unique experience at the Carlton D Henley Sports Complex. The stadium is a Florida style high school stadium with a track surrounding the field, and it is located right next to the campus. Located in Longwood, Florida the stadium as well as the school, is in a great area and is coincidentally right across the street from the Sanford Orlando Kennel Club which is known for Greyhound racing.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food prices displayed above the concession stands are an amazing deal. A can of soda or a water bottle is a steal at only $1. If you want a burger the price is around $6, which is still a good deal in itself as it includes a drink and chips. Hot dogs go for $3. The menu has a good layout of options to choose from, and the pricing is great. If you are looking for something to eat or drink at halftime, you can't go wrong getting something from Lyman's concessions and you won't have to spend a ton of money.
The Greyhounds' stadium is an amazing place to catch a varsity football game. The stands are made of concrete seats with plenty of leg room. Many high school stadiums use the classic metal bench bleacher style seating, but Lyman has a unique concrete bleacher design which is decorated with plenty of blue and gold colors and flags around the bleachers. Fan seating is either to the left or right of the reserved middle section. In the middle below the press box is the reserved section for boosters and guests who would rather have an individual seat than sitting on the concrete. On the visiting team side is the classic metal bleachers. The views are no different than the home side. You'll still get a great up-close view of the action and an unobstructed view of the scoreboard.
The scoreboard is nice in that it's not overly crowded with advertisements. It's easily noticeable from all areas of the stadium complex. The numbering blends in well with the blue background when checking the time, or the score of the game.
The Lyman High School Band sits on the right side of the stadium and is constantly playing great music to cheer on their team. Whenever Lyman scores, the fight song is played to celebrate the victory. Lyman's cheerleaders do different cheers for the team throughout the game and do a great job at getting the fans involved with the chants and cheers.
Another point worth mentioning is the Klothing Kennel. This has got to be one of the nicest additions to any high school stadium I've ever seen. If you're looking for a Greyhound souvenir, then this is the place. The Kennel has lots of blue and gold apparel and novelties to go around at reasonable prices. There are a wide variety of Lyman shirts that include the color scheme, but also that awesome logo that Lyman has introduced of the Greyhound head. Inside you'll see jerseys, shorts, sweatpants, shirts, hats, etc. This is worth a look even if you don't plan on buying. Odds are you'll find something worth your money.
Lyman is off of the main road that passes through Longwood off SR 434. The campus isn't right in the midst of the busy road itself. However if you're looking to eat after the game, most of the fast food restaurants will be on 434. The same goes for gas stations. The area the campus is in is mostly surrounded by businesses on one side, and nice housing developments on the other. Right up the road from Lyman is a local middle school as well.
These fans are like no other I have seen at a high school football game. The students really know how to support their team no matter the score. For the most recent game I attended, a group of students made a gold dog bone and posted it to a pipe for support and held it high.
Greyhound fans are some of the best fans of Seminole County football. The same goes for the band; I didn't see many fans leave when Lyman's band took the field for halftime as everyone was tuned in to see their incredible performance.
Getting to the stadium is very easy. No matter which way you are heading up Dog Track Road you've got an easy maneuver into the stadium. Parking is fantastic. The lot is free to park and has plenty of spaces and room to get in and out of the parking spots. Even arriving shortly before kickoff you should still find parking and it isn't a heavy walk from the stadium entrance. Making it easier, the entrance is right next to the stands for a quick entrance or exit from the stadium.
The restrooms are right next to the concessions and are easy to access. There is plenty of room to get around in this area. Whoever designed this layout did a great job. Opposite of the concession area is the scoreboard and end zone. You'll have a good view of the action or at least the time. Next to the concessions on the right is also the Klothing Kennel.
Walking around the stadium isn't a hassle. The field is fully accessible no matter which way you're going. I walked around and was able to start at the entrance gate and head over to the visitors section. Then continue around behind the scoreboard towards the concession area easily. The fact that visiting fans can walk either end of the field to the concessions, which are on both ends of the home team stands, is a nice feature. The experience for the visitors is just as great as it is for home fans.
Tickets to a Lyman game are very reasonable. Be prepared to pay $6 per person. This ticket gains access to either stand with exclusion of the reserved seating. No matter where you're sitting you're going to get a good view. Just be prepared that the band will be sitting in the first section of the stadium. But on the opposite side of the stairs is where fan seating starts.
Many choose this area and I can see why, the view is great and close to mid-field. Even in the section on the other side of the reserved seating the action and views are great as you're right next to the scoreboard end zone. For visiting fans, you'll get your money's worth as well with the good views from the visitor's bleachers.
Parking is phenomenal. The opposing team usually parks its busses near the entrance so it may be tight getting out if someone is entering but not to worry, you won't spend much time waiting on others to go in front of you. Adding to the already convenient parking lot is how easy it is to get back onto Dog Track Road and on your way.
You can expect to see creative signs that the fans bring out to support the Hounds. I love seeing fans get into the game and support their team no matter what the outcome and Lyman students deliver.
Another point I have to address again is the Klothing Kennel. I was surprised to see a complete store at the stadium. Normally you'll get a stand with some basic apparel, but to see a store at a high school stadium is really a bonus.
The staff is very friendly as well, also worth an additional point.
Lyman has a unique experience for high school football, and it's a great atmosphere for a game. I would highly recommend stopping by Lyman whether supporting the home team or the visiting team. You'll get what you paid for here. The action is great and the views don't disappoint. The Greyhounds never give up, and the Lyman Band will guarantee a fantastic halftime show.
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