End of an era for Taylor High School football field


CINCINNATI -- November means the end of the high school football season. At Taylor High School it also means the end of an era.

After 80 years of homecoming games, conference showdowns and maybe a few antics under the bleachers, the football stadium off State Route 50 in North Bend, Ohio is being torn down this weekend.

The Yellowjackets (6-4) blew out Indian Hill (4-6) 37-7 Friday night in their last home game at the field.

Fittingly, the boys' basketball team won their final game played at the school's gymnasium. 

At first glance, the field at old Taylor High School is just a rickety football stadium with natural grass that's nestled in a neighborhood. But for the hundreds of teenagers who've spent their Friday nights wearing Yellowjacket uniforms or cheering on their classmates, it's been a lot more than that.

While not all of the young men who wore the yellow and black have gone on to achieve athletic fame, some of them have.

Longtime NFL defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield spent his youth terrorizing opposing players on the field while a member of the Taylor football team in the 80s.

Keith Starks used his 6-foot-8 frame to dominate undersized defensive back while playing wide receiver for the Yellowjackets before going on to star for the University of Cincinnati basketball team.

But it wasn't just the players, coaches and fans who gave the stadium character. Over the years football fans have also grown to appreciate the quirks of the field itself.

School officials said more than one long field goal ended up on somebody’s front porch over the years. And the field's unusual end zone that curves uphill has put more than a couple players’ backsides on the turf.

When the community built the school in the mid-1920s, the field was wedged next door and they didn't have enough room to make the field without the awkward end zone obstacle.

The novelty elements earned the field nicknames like, "The Big Surprise," "The Terrace" and "The Secret Weapon."

Probably the most colorful moniker used over the years was “Gotcha.”

More than one Taylor touchdown connection developed because a Yellowjacket knew the oddly placed hill was there and the defendant didn’t. Gotcha.

The students have already abandoned old Taylor High School. They’re in a brand new school down the road in Cleves. Now, it's time to say goodbye to the football field.

On Saturday, the goal posts will come down, followed by the stands. The lights won't be there much longer either.

But the fans who've called Taylor High School's old, quirky football field their Friday night home for the past eight decades will give it a special place to live on in their hearts forever.

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