The national spotlight will be on Idalou Friday as it will be home to one of just a few high school football games to be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest.
The Idalou Wildcats will take on the Shallowater Mustangs, with kickoff at 6 p.m.
Moving the traditional kickoff time was the only condition UIL brought to the schools, according to Idalou Superintendent Jim Waller. Both schools agreed in order to highlight their programs and accolades.
"If you were to rate it between a one and a 10, it's an 11," Waller said. "Everybody I talk to, that's all they talk about is 'How come us?' and 'Isn't it exciting?'. You walk through the halls and the teachers are still saying 'What time do I need to be there?' and 'Can I save seats?'. Of course, I have to say 'No, you can't save seats either.'"
Waller said that scarce seating and parking will be the issue as the City of Idalou expects to double its population for one night.
"The city has been so good to work with us," Waller said. "They are bringing extra police in. Fox has their security here. I think we will be ok in those areas. I believe the biggest thing is there probably won't be a whole lot of extra seating, if any."
The school and City of Idalou have been coordinating throughout the summer to prepare for this influx of football fans.
"What is really neat about Idalou and Shallowater is our communities support the school and they travel well," Idalou City Administrator Suzette Williams said. "We are expecting Shallowater fans to come out here and support their team. We know that means extra vehicles in the area, more people, which is going to be great, but because of that we want to make sure everyone gets out safely without too much headache."
"We have come together as a city staff with the police chief, fire chief and emergency management coordinator," Williams said. "We've looked at the best way to direct traffic out of the city. It's one easy stream. It is one-way traffic with Idalou police directing traffic after the game."
Despite the challenge of the logistics, administrators and officials are expecting a great game.
"Their community looks a lot like ours," Waller said. "They want to be successful. They want to do the right thing. I think you are going to see two really good teams and two really good communities put on a show for the nation."
Coaches are facing a challenge as well to keep things "low key" for players.
"I'm telling you it's hard," Idalou ISD Athletic Director Jeff Lofton said. "You see the stages being built, the trucks being brought in. I know that excitement. I know that excitement as a player but add this to it and I know they probably can hardly sleep right now."
Lofton said the best thing about the game is showcasing the tradition of success in both schools.
"People are trying to call and see if they can reserve their seat at 2:30 in the afternoon," Lofton said. "Our gates are going to open at 4 p.m. We are going to keep everything locked down until then. I think there is going to be standing room only once you do get here. It's an exciting venture we are taking on here."
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