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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
In the fall evenings, high school football takes center stage in Homestead, Florida. With several local schools that have been around for a long time playing for the fans alongside newer schools that have popped up, the bleachers fill up with fans. Students line the sidelines alongside old-timers to watch some good old fashioned gridiron battles under the lights at Harris Field. However, for the casual fan, it may not exactly be the most relaxing location.
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Looking for a bite to eat or a cool drink? Good luck. There is usually only one, or two at best, concession stands that are open. Given that the students of the respective schools are who line up the most, line jumping is all too common. If you want to go off-property, you can get a sub at Publix, a coffee at Starbucks, or something to eat at Pollo Tropical or Ruby Tuesday right across the street. But you'd have to plan to visit early to do that.
Not many atmospheres are better than when Homestead High School takes on South Dade Senior High in the annual Centennial Cup matchup at Harris Field. Rest assured there isn't a single seat to be had, or space to stand at that. During other rivalry games, the students deck themselves out in body paint and bring homemade signs to show their support. A touchdown or quarterback sack are met with thunderous cheering that rocks the metal stands. This is as good as it gets in South Florida for high school sports.
Harris Field is in the parking lot of the local YMCA, situated next to the Doc DeMilly Rodeo Arena at the corner of US-1 and SW 312th St, two of the biggest roads in South Dade County. While the one side of the field is bordered by a trailer park, the others have a large strip shopping center across the street. Adjacent to the west is the local library. While not exactly in the middle of the thriving metropolis, Harris Field can hold its own as being located in a relatively average neighborhood. There are hotels nearby, but nothing within immediate walking distance. As for something to eat, there are a lot of restaurants just down the street off of Florida Turnpike Exit #2.
Fans at Harris Field games are among the most loyal you will find. They support their local high school's team no matter what their record. And if they're doing bad, they will let the coaches know about it right away. The same goes for the calls made by the referees. Nobody is safe from their wrath if the call is perceived to be a bad one. The fans also seem to know each and every player and coach on the field, having followed them all from pee-wee football all the way to their college-bound time in the high school ranks. There are a ton of stories that can be swapped, making for an enjoyable time while taking in a game.
Harris Field is very easy to find, with less than a five minute ride from the Florida Turnpike's Exit #2 taking you right to the entrance of the park. Parking is plentiful as well, making getting in and out very easy for the fans. Traffic is directed in and out by local police during popular matchups, making going home smoother.
Make sure you go to the bathroom before you enter, as the restrooms there leave a lot to be desired.
Sitting on metal bleachers without backs can be a little uncomfortable over time, especially if a game goes long. However the atmosphere at Harris Field is well worth the cost depending upon the game you are attending. With ticket prices never rising higher than $10 for a game, you are pretty much only spending money on your gas to get to the game. So with little investment, you get a pretty big gain if the game is a good one or a matchup for a school you are supporting.
Harris Field gets the occasional flyover, albeit not scheduled. The location of the stadium is right along the flightline for planes heading in and out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, making for an inadvertent flyover a possibility.
There are also pee-wee fields next to the stadium, as well as basketball courts and little league baseball and softball fields that usually have games going on as well, making for a true family sports atmosphere when you arrive.
Harris Field is a pretty good high school football stadium compared to most in South Florida, and its location makes for easy access for fans of all schools making an appearance at the stadium. Friday Night Lights could have easily been filmed here if it were based in South Florida, and the fans make it a great stadium in which to watch a game. Just make sure you bring your own food or drinks as there is rarely anything to get without waiting in the long line at the stadium's lone concession stand.
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985 N Homestead Blvd
Homestead, FL 33030
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