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US Communities Rally For High School Football

Football, the American form of the sport, is an iconic part of American high school life, especially in small towns, like Macomb, Illinois, and everyone gets involved.

Musicians cheer the players. And it's the cheerleaders' job to spur on the crowds.

Jill Kelso says cheerleading is an important part of the game.

"We try to pump up the crowd and try to encourage the boys," she says. "I don't know how much it actually helps but it at least pumps up the atmosphere."

That atmosphere motivates the players. On this Saturday afternoon, Macomb's team, the Bombers, has a solid win. The team's star player, Quarterback Chris Jackson, says it's always a good time.

"I'm playing football every day with a lot of my best friends. Kids that I have known for years and kids that I have grown up with," he says.

Football has made him something of a celebrity in Macomb.

"Wherever you go people know you," he explains. "They always shake your hand and they always know what you do so they kind of help you stay out of trouble, too."

And the fans cheer him. But they say they care about more than a win.

"Just the high school spirit: the cheerleaders, the band, the community comes out, especially in small towns - I'm from Chicago but ... I like how the community comes out to support the team," says a fan.

"We have great community here as you can see in the stands - there's lots of fans, lots of parents, so it's part of being in the community," says a woman.

Head coach Kelly Sears says his job is not easy.

"When you deal with high school kids, you really never know who has flunked a test or who broke up with their girlfriend or what's happened to them during the day and that can trigger their attitude toward practice or possibly not even showing up. So the thing is when you start winning some games and you get great tradition, which we have had here at Macomb high, I think that really adds to getting the kids there," coach Sears says.

With more wins in the bag, he says, the community will keep coming back for more.