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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Keys Gate Charter High has been a growing program in high school athletics over the last half-decade in South Florida youth sports. The school is often overshadowed by the larger and more established programs nearby, like Homestead and South Dade High. However, do not discount the Knights and their passion for their athletics. No facility showcases their pride in their young program more than the school’s gymnasium, host to basketball, volleyball, and wrestling matches for the school's athletic program.
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There is only one food vendor at the gym for games, and there are a few additional vending machines nearby. However, the variety of food at the concession stand is varied and low in price. For that, a hot dog with a drink and chips can run you a mere $5 per game. Other times, they have nachos or burgers. And if you have a sweet tooth, it can definitely be satisfied here.
The gymnasium is buzzing on game day. For events of any sport, the fans get the excitement going, and the score rarely dictates how passionately they express their love for their Knights. Athletes from other teams at the school regularly visit to cheer on their athletic teammates, and the stands are packed with student fans. The acoustics in the arena are also conducive of extremely loud roars from the home crowd every time a three-pointer is sunk by the Knights.
The rafters hold the few championship banners the school has earned, a sign that history is being made every year at the school.
Keys Gate Charter is located in the Keys Gate neighborhood of Homestead. This gated community location is home to higher-end homes in a quiet atmosphere. In addition, the school was built immediately adjacent to the old Homestead baseball stadium, now home (temporarily) to the Homestead police department. This gives a sense of security while at games many other places may not have.
A short two-minute drive east is Homestead-Miami Speedway, and just a few minutes north is a large shopping and dining area off of Florida's Turnpike exit 2.
For lodging, that same exit 2 provides a few places for traveling fans to stop at while visiting the home of the Knights, with even more choices off Turnpike exit 1.
The Knights have some of the loudest fans in South Florida. Often feeling like they have a chip on their shoulder, fans of Keys Gate tend to put extra effort into showing their school pride. It is not uncommon to see homemade signs and banners displayed at the games and to hear the fans taunting the visitors. Most of all, the students are well-behaved, something not all schools in South Florida can boast at their athletic games.
The drive to Keys Gate isn't difficult, but the school isn't located next to a highway exit, so navigating some neighborhood roads is required. Fans can take either Florida's Turnpike exit 2 or 1 from the north, then head east to the school. From the south (the Keys), US 1 should be taken until you reach Palm Drive, then head east. Once you are at the school, parking is plentiful all around the campus, with the gymnasium facing and opening up to the main parking area, requiring little navigation for fans to find the entrance.
The price of a ticket to get in to any given game at Keys Gate never runs higher than a few dollars. The concessions are also pretty low in price, and therefore, taking a trip to Keys Gate usually involves more travel investment than anything else. That in itself can be a hassle, depending on the time of day and the direction in which you are coming from. Traffic on Florida's Turnpike can be heavy coming south in the afternoons.
The Knights have their own Knight mascot that runs around the games, providing that true high school sports experience.
In addition, the school itself is right in the flight path of Homestead Air Reserve Base, giving fans a great chance to see a flyover almost every few minutes, as planes and helicopters come and go from the base.
Finally, for fans wanting a little bit of adventure, both Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park are less than 10 minutes away to the west and east, respectively.
The feeling at Keys Gate games is one of excitement and optimism, and when you sit in the stands at a Knights event, it is easy to understand why. The fans are energetic and the atmosphere is always full of energy. When looking at places to visit for South Florida youth athletics, don't overlook the home of the Knights.
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