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  • Matthew Collins

Jim Scoggins Stadium – Pensacola High School Tigers


Photos by Matt Colville, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71

Jim Scoggins Stadium 500 W Maxwell St Pensacola, FL 32501



Year Opened: 1950s

Capacity: 10,000

 

James ‘Jim’ Scoggins Stadium


For over 100 years Pensacola High School has served the community of south central Pensacola as its main public high school. Originally opened in 1870 as the Pensacola School for Boys, the school went through several name changes and changed locations several times before officially being recognized as Pensacola High School, and becoming permanently settled in downtown Pensacola in 1905. In 1952 a fire gutted the buildings, forcing PHS to relocate once again, this time to its current home on Maxwell Street about a mile north of the old locale.


Currently Pensacola High School is the oldest secondary public school in the panhandle region of Florida; with a current enrollment of 1400, PHS is the third largest high school in the city. Notable alumni include former Buffalo Bills Head Coach Kay Stephenson, former WNBA all-star and Tennessee standout Michelle Snow, former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Aldron Chambers, and current Cleveland Browns defensive back Demarious Randall.


The Tigers currently compete in Class 5A District 1, which consists of West Florida HS, Choctawhatchee HS, Arnold HS, and Pine Forest HS. The Tigers first fielded a football team in 1905, which makes Pensacola High the oldest football program in the state of Florida (high school, college, or pro). The Tigers can also lay claim to being the oldest FHSAA State Champion as they won the first title in 1905, which they followed up by winning 4 other state championships (1908, 1953, 1958, and 2009).


Since the 1950s the Tigers have played at Jim Scoggins Stadium, named after the winningest coach in PHS history, Jim Scoggins. Scroggins also held the record for being the all-time winningest coach in the state of Florida until being surpassed in 2007; Scoggins guided the Tigers to an undefeated record and state championships in 1958 and 1959.


Food & Beverage 3

There are two main concession stands, one on each side of the field at the south end of the stadium. Anybody coming to Jim Scoggins Stadium should not be looking for a culinary experience, but the basics can be found and the prices are reasonable. Food prices are as follows: cheeseburgers ($4), hamburgers and nachos ($3), fries, hot dogs, and boiled peanuts ($2). An extra point goes to the fact that combo meals can be purchased, which includes fries and a drink. Combo prices are as follows: cheeseburger combo ($7), hamburger combo ($6), and hot dog combo ($5). Also, the fact that Pensacola High adds some variety and deals to their menu increases the score by one star.


There’s also no denying that the hamburgers and hot dog will be fresh as they are cooked to your choosing in a grill set up outside the concessions stand. Coke is the soft drink provider with regular 20 oz bottles selling for $2, with bottled water also $2, Powerade for $3, and Monster energy drinks for $4.


Atmosphere 3

The stadium is set up like a normal high school stadium with the home stands on one side and the visitor stands on the other; the field faces north and south with the home side on the west end and the visitor side on the east side. The first thing you notice when entering Jim Scoggins Stadium is just how big the home grandstands are; they are just regular bleacher seating but extend about 30 rows up and extend from about the 10-yard line on each end, which sets the scene for an impressive and quite large configuration. There is also a basic scoreboard in the south end zone, with the Jimmy Haynes Fieldhouse in the north end zone, which houses the team’s weight room and locker rooms. The concession stands are located in a separate building along with the restrooms, on the south end of each side.


There is a rather large band that takes up the entire section of the bleachers at the north end. The band plays a little too much though, as there are a lot of plays on the field when the band will play through the whole play and into the next one. The band was into the game though, and they tried their hardest to cheer up and bring school spirit to the rather empty home side. It also didn’t help that the Tigers came into their most recent game 0-4 and got blown out during the game.


The visitor side was not as impressive as the home side but did contribute more fans. These stands are basic concrete steps with no seats, meaning you sit on the concrete throughout the game; the stands on this side extend from the 20-yard line on each end and go up about 15 rows. If you go to the top you can get a good view of the newly renovated and beautiful Pensacola High School.


Neighborhood 3

There is not much to see or do within walking distance of Pensacola High School. The only notable landmark is the Crystal Ice House located a couple of blocks away on the corner of Maxwell Street and Davis Highway. The 1930s era landmark was a first of its kind, as it was at one time a drive through where they would sell ice to travelers. The building resembles a block of ice with a polar bear attached to the roof. There is nothing notable about the place, and it is fenced off, but it makes for a photo op as it has been named one of the 7 wonders of Pensacola.


The area around the high school may look a little run down as the few noticeable convenience stores and liquor stores on the street have bars on the windows. There shouldn’t be anything to worry about, however, if you are minding your own business.


Downtown Pensacola is located about 1.5 miles south of the high school. The downtown area is also very unique as there are no high-rise buildings, but the area resembles a smaller version of New Orleans with its French Quarter-inspired buildings. There is plenty to see and do downtown, and that area also has every single type of restaurant and bar you can imagine; the main bars and restaurants are located on Palafox Street and Seville Quarter.


If in town on a Friday night in the fall when Gallery Night is going on I highly recommend attending. Held usually the third Friday of every month, Gallery Night is like a night arts & craft festival for adults. Many of the local bars and art galleries have tents set up displaying local artists; other cities do this but Pensacola is so far the only city on the Gulf Coast that has a Gallery Night. Each night usually attracts about 10 to 15 thousand people, so if in town on this night be sure to stop off; the event takes place on Palafox Street in downtown.


Fans 2

As mentioned there is a low turnout for some games on the Tigers side. The Tigers played their crosstown rival the Pensacola Catholic Crusaders on my most recent visit, so there was a good turnout on the visitor side. Unfortunately the Tiger football program is not the best this season, and it showed not only on the field but in the stands as well. The students sit around the 50-yard line while many of the fans were spread out throughout the stands, and the few fans that were there left after the homecoming festivities at halftime. However, with its close proximity to downtown there is always something going on in Pensacola for people of all ages, so the PHS football team has a lot to compete with on Friday nights.


Access 2

Pensacola High School can be kind of a difficult place to find if you do not where you are going or you are not familiar with the area. The school is located on Maxwell in the North Hill subdivision about 1.5 miles north of downtown, just a couple blocks west of the I-110 interchange. All of the streets in the neighborhood are one-way, and it’s easy to get them confused since the streets are not always visibly marked with one-way signs.


If coming from the west side of Pensacola Jordan Street will be your best bet, as it is one-way and heads east, with the high school one block north. Maxwell Street is the main street if coming in from the east, Maxwell is one block north of Jordan Street. However, if coming from out of town then I-10 to I-110 will be your best bet; just take the Maxwell Street exit and go west about 4 blocks and you will see the school.


Jim Scoggins Stadium is different than most stadiums as there is no concourse underneath the stadium; on the home side there is one accessible part under the stands, but other than one restroom there isn’t much there. On the visitor side you cannot go under the stands at all, but need to walk around them.


Return on Investment 4

General admission tickets are the only seats you can purchase here, but you are free to walk from one side to the other and sit anywhere you want which is what I did; these tickets are $7 which is about average for high school football games. Concessions remain fairly cheap, and they have combo meals at Jim Scroggins Stadium which is something that other high schools do not. I felt this was a good return on investment, as the Tigers compete at FHSAA 5A, which is the highest level of high school football in Florida. Many of the players on both teams later sign with D1 teams, so you could be watching the next Florida State or Florida great in action.


Extras 2

In 2004 Hurricane Ivan devastated the city of Pensacola. Even though the high school is located far enough inland away from the storm surge, a tornado still ripped through the campus, flattening the middle portion including the gymnasium. The school was basically rebuilt in 2005, and when it opened it was one of the biggest looking high schools I have ever been too.


The gymnasium that they rebuilt is a mammoth 37,000-square foot facility that is truly state of the art. The top of the arch-shaped building can be viewed from the home side overlooking the visitor stands. For the best views of the high school, go to the top of the visitor stands on the 50-yard line; the whole school can be viewed from here as well.


Final Thoughts

Pensacola High School remains a fine place to watch football on a Friday night. Though the overall atmosphere is nothing special, the high school is one of the nicest looking high schools in the state from an architectural standpoint. The view of the school from the top of the stadium alone is worth the price of admission and who knows, you might be watching the next great future Pensacola NFL player.

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