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  • Writer's pictureEric Moreno

D. W. Rutledge Stadium – Judson Independent School District (ISD)


Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

D. W. Rutledge Stadium 900 S. Seguin Road Converse, TX 78109



Year Opened: 1959

Capacity: 10,000

 

Historic Launchpad for Football Greatness


High school football is king in the state of Texas. Few teams have reigned atop the mountain as state champions more than the co-occupants of D. W. Rutledge Stadium – the Judson High School Rockets. Located in a suburb of Converse, Texas, Judson High School has reached the Texas state football championship 11 times, and won the final prize a remarkable six times.


During the entirety of this run of dominance, Judson also holds the record for the most consecutive winning seasons in the state’s history, spanning 41 seasons up through 2017 – the Rockets have called the site now known as D. W. Rutledge Stadium home for that entire time. Named in honor of their legendary former coach, the stadium was originally built in 1959, and was originally named Judson Stadium.


As the district grew, the Karen Wagner High School Thunderbirds began playing at D.W. Rutledge Stadium in 2005, and the Veterans Memorial Patriots start varsity play in 2018 – Rutledge Stadium was remodeled in 2008 to accommodate that growth. The stadium, home to so much history and greatness in decades past, has been reborn to carry on the legacy into the 21st century.


Food & Beverage 2

Concessions at D. W. Rutledge Stadium are quite frankly surprisingly well-above par – especially for a high school sports-only facility. One of the things that separates it from many similar stadiums is that the concessions stands – one each on the home and visitor sides – take credit cards.


On the menu are the traditional favorites: popcorn, candy, pickles, nachos, bottled water, soda, and sports drinks. These are all available for $2-$3 each. Also available are hamburgers and chicken burgers (each $5), hot dogs and sausage wraps ($2.50 and $3 respectively), and chili cheese fries ($3).


An added bonus – especially on cold fall Friday nights at the stadium – is Starbucks coffee, available for $3.


Atmosphere 3

Calling D. W. Rutledge Stadium a “cathedral” of high school athletics might be a bit of an oversell, but not by much. The facility has all the great features of an old-school stadium, but thanks to the renovations, it has a lot of the new bells and whistles of modern facilities. These include a massive coaches/press box, and a high-tech full-color jumbotron.


Judson fans have earned a strong reputation for “bringing it” at all home games at D. W. Rutledge Stadium; Wagner fans are quickly gaining a reputation of their own for filling up the stands and supplying the energy.

Especially with bigger games – such as during district play – the venue is rocking with energy and with excitement that can be felt from down the block.


If you plan on attending a game at D. W. Rutledge Stadium, I would personally recommend the year-end clash between Judson and Wagner – while the annual Hammer Bowl is one of the area’s newest rivalries, the atmosphere at D. W. Rutledge Stadium becomes electric when the two teams meet.


Neighborhood 4

The city of Converse is one of the largest suburbs of San Antonio, which is one of the most visited tourist cities in the U.S. As mentioned in previous reviews of the area, San Antonio is ripe with attractions of any and all kinds, and you are bound to find something of interest to suit whatever your mood is.


If you are interested in continuing an evening of sports, horse racing season overlaps with the high school football one. Located in nearby Selma, Texas, is one of the state’s finest establishments dedicated to the sport of kings, Retama Park. A truly gorgeous facility, Retama Park is a fan-favorite among both novices and hardcore devotees of the sport. Make sure to check their online calendar, as they frequently have theme nights that are pretty popular, including dollar night which feature $1 hot dogs, sodas, and racing programs.

First-time visitors to San Antonio must visit the city’s historic Downtown, home to many of the area’s most famous attractions, including the Alamo, River Walk, Market Square, and Tower of the Americas. The Alamo, River Walk, and Market Square all offer free admittance.


For dining options, San Antonio is renowned as a city where you can find good eats on just about every corner. However, if you choose to stay in Converse proper, there are more than enough choices. All of your usual chain restaurants can be found; if you are looking for something beyond that, check out a couple of local favorites: Rocket’s Feed Restaurant Bakery and Papa Dante’s Restaurant.


When it comes to hotels, the same circumstance as dining can be said. You can find whatever you want in San Antonio, but in Converse proper, you have options as well. Every chain you can think of, from the highest end to the most budget friendly can be found within striking distance of the city. If you’re looking beyond the normal chains, I would recommend staying in San Antonio. Some choices include the art deco-styled Hotel Havana, or heavy on cozy A Yellow Rose Bed and Breakfast.


Fans 4

There have been numerous books, TV series, and films written about how passionate people in Texas are about high school football. If you attend a game at D. W. Rutledge Stadium, you will get a glimpse of that passion. Regardless of the matchup, you can expect to see the home field stands filled.


Judson Rockets fans are especially loyal and passionate toward their team, and they have been rewarded with that loyalty over the years with victories. While Wagner doesn’t yet have the same history as their older sister school, fans still come out in impressive numbers. One can only anticipate that Veterans Memorial fans will do the same, as it is in their pedigree.


When you come to a Judson Rockets, though, you can expect the stands to be filled with red and to be fully engaged throughout the entirety of the game. Overall, few venues in South Texas can match that which is found at D. W. Rutledge Stadium.


Access 4

If you plan on attending at game at D. W. Rutledge Stadium, you should have no problem accessing it whatsoever. Converse, again, is just a few miles outside of San Antonio as you head north on Interstate 10. If you’re flying in from anywhere in the country, the San Antonio International Airport is your best bet. You can also head in from Austin, the next nearest big city, which is just under an hour and a half north of both San Antonio and Converse. A little bit of an insider’s tip – Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin often has less expensive flight packages into the area.


When going to D. W. Rutledge Stadium, there is no cost for parking, and there is ample amount of it thanks to the 2008 renovation. Also, one point to be aware of – while concessions accept credit cards, the admission gates do not.


Return on Investment 2

Single game general admission tickets at D. W. Rutledge Stadium are $8 per person, which is pretty much the standard going rate for high school games in the area these days. This is by no means a bad thing.


D. W. Rutledge Stadium has great sight lines, a great atmosphere, and – usually – great teams that compete there on a week in and week out basis. When you couple the price for admission with the low-cost for concessions, and the zero cost you pay for parking, what you get is worth the price.


Extras 1

In terms of “extras,” what D. W. Rutledge Stadium offers is pretty much what is standard at all high school games. There are the bands, the cheerleaders, and dance teams, and there are also the half-time shows, the mascots, and the boosters.


The main selling point of the stadium is its history and the football on the field. This is by no means a negative, it’s just a fact. In cases like D. W. Rutledge Stadium, that’s all you need.


Final Thoughts

Bottom line, D. W. Rutledge Stadium is a great venue for high school football. You will highly enjoy yourself at games there, no matter which team you happen to see.


When attending games there, you’ll get caught up in the history of the stadium. It is everywhere. There are few finer venues for high school football in South Texas than D.W. Rutledge Stadium, so do yourself a favor and catch a game there when you have the chance.



Follow Eric Moreno’s Stadium Journey on Twitter at @EricMoreno6477. Visit Eric Moreno’s writer’s portfolio site at ericmoreno.contently.com.

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