(KMOV) -- Considering we were going to be driving through the heartland of high school football on Friday night, it only seemed logical to catch a little of the "Friday Night Lights" action. Perfectly aligned for us was a Texas high school 5A match-up between the South Lake Carroll Dragons and the Marcus Marauders. South Lake Carroll being the 2004, 2005 and 2006 State Champions, as well as the alma mater of Tiger quarterback Chase Daniel.
Because of the screwy Texas road naming system and possibly a few human errors, we arrived early in the second quarter to the Athletic Complex in Lewisville, Texas where the Marauders call home. I grew up in St. Louis and have never really witnessed big time high school football, so this was certainly a first for me.
Thousands of screaming Texans packed the bleachers, each team's fans with their respective side of the field. Enormously sized bands packed the track ringing the field, awaiting the halftime extravaganza. With their starting quarterback injured, South Lake turned to their backup, #10. No, Chase Daniel wasn't making a cameo appearance, but this kid certainly had a heck of an arm.
A banner on the fence behind the South Lake bench read, "Protect the Tradition." If that alone doesn't tell you they take this seriously, then the play on the field certainly will. There was an intensity level on the field that I had never seen before in a high school football game. Half the players on the Carroll team were bigger than the biggest guy on my high school team. Perhaps the most dominating player on the field was the running back for the Marcus Marauders. He played like a man amongst boys. He had bruising toughness and the break away speed to outrun defenders. That combination allowed him to break three touchdown runs of over 60 yards, an impressive sight to say the least.
The game certainly was not lacking in theatrics. Both bands put on outstanding performances at half time, complete with huge on field props and intricate line movements. There's a chance, although slight, that I may have just paid to see the bands. In a complete first for me, both teams fan out onto the field for the second half through giant inflatable helmets spewing smoke. Marcus even had a helmet car. Can you imagine that, a helmet car at a high school football game? They don't hold anything back here. High school football is king.
In a not so surprising, but still surprising event, many of the South Lake Carroll parents we talked to said they only watch Mizzou football and are cheering for the Tigers to beat Texas this weekend. On the way out, one man saw my Mizzou t-shirt and urged us to take down Texas this weekend. Somehow I thought there were rules about rooting against UT if you were a Texan. Let's just call it the Chase effect.
In case you were wondering, South Lake pulled out a squeaker in a come from behind effort, 42-35.
Eric Durban is a Journalism student at the University of Missouri