The truest, most pure form of American sporting culture can be found on Friday nights, when communities rally around high schools and celebrate sports and a general sense of togetherness.
No matter the stadium, the size of the crowd or the level of competition, there’s something universal about high school football and what it represents.
In that way, consider this a collection of America’s most authentic sporting cathedrals, a selection of 16 unique and spectacular high school football stadiums, each notable in its own way. Some feature spectacular natural beauty, while others boast awe-inspiring facilities. A handful possess history and tradition handed down from generations ago.
How did we pick our Sweet 16? We researched stadiums across the country, considering facilities across the nation to find the fields and facilities that are most unique for some reason or another. We started with a group of more than 30 stadiums par excellence, then whittled down to our group of 16 via rigorous internal debate between the USA TODAY High School Sports staff in an effort to balance facility strengths.
Now it’s up to you to decide which is America’s best high school football stadium, one round at a time. Voting rounds end at 2 p.m. ET.
Round 1: Oct. 15-21
Round 2: Oct. 22-27
Round 3: Oct. 28-31
Final Round: Nov. 1-4
Cathy Parker Field
This all-blue turf field in Utqiagvik, Alaska — which matches the water of adjacent Arctic Ocean — was installed in 2007 and is essential for a climate 300 miles inside the Arctic Circle where the temperature climbs above 32 degrees just 100 days per year. It it also creates one of America’s most picturesque high school football environments.
This gorgeous, 15,000-seat field is wrapped by lower-level bleachers with an open end that looks directly out over Puget Sound. The adjacent Stadium High School takes its name from the facility, which is an apt metaphor for the importance and role football plays in high school culture across the nation.
Show your support and vote below for the stadium you think is better:
Click through the pages below to vote for the other seven first-round matchups.