Football stadium observation series – This edition, Middletown
This summer, the 302 Sports staff discussed the opportunity to feature some of the high school football venues where we have been fortunate to broadcast, and view games over the years.
Since I am the “senior” sportscaster (by far), I thought about taking the lead with my alma mater, MIddletown High School. Today, one of the most enthusiastic fan bases supports a very successful program with 8 total state championships. However, winning didn’t come too often in the beginning. From its first season in 1953 until 1962, the Cavaliers had an overall record of 14-54-3 and never had a winning season. Things changed in 1962 when Bill Billings was hired. Middletown defeated Caesar Rodney 19-6 on September 14, 1962. The Cavaliers would not lose again until 1967 falling to Coach Bob Hoffman’s Newark Yellowjackets. The 53-game winning streak is the longest in Delaware history and was ended by a Newark program that had a record of 137-32 dating back to 1947!
During the 53-game winning streak, Middletown upset the heavily-favored Salesianum Sals 14-13 in 1966. The Sals team out-weighed the Middletown players by an average of 30 pounds per man. Seating capacity at Middletown was 3,500 but police estimated a crowd upwards of 8,000 that night.
The stadium is still situated behind the Everett Meredith Middle School at 504 S. Broad Street as it was in 1966. That was the location of the one (and only) high school in a district that now boasts two other high schools (Odessa & Appo) with another building coming soon. On any given Friday night, the stands are full with standing-room around the fences behind both end zones. Oh yes, don’t forget the cowbells and a crowd that can be heard throughout most of the town when the cavaliers score.
The entrance to the stadium was remodeled a few years ago that included upgrades for rest room facilities and concessions. Parking between the stadium and the Middle School does not accommodate the large crowds, so fans utilize S. Broad Street, the streets near the stadium including the development of Sharondale…just like they did in 1966.
It is a very intimidating atmosphere for any visiting opponent. In Cavalier Stadium, Middletown certainly enjoys a “home field” advantage.
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