(Photo via columbiamissourian.com)
Every fall weekend, in cities and towns across the country, millions gather for high school football. It is one of greatest traditions in our country. From Maine to California, Washington to Florida, and all points in between – it is high school football!
Every Friday, hundreds of Warriors will suit up to do battle with hundreds of Bulldogs. Eagles will tangle with Lions, Bobcats square off with Tigers, and Spartans engage in a contest of wills with their ancient nemeses, the Trojans.
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However, sometimes the gridirons see action from enemies just a little more … unique. Wampus Cats, Whalers, Papermakers, Voks, Tractors, and even Sand Lizards shine on Fridays.
Scouring the country, here are the most unique team names in all of high school football, one for every state in the Union. Does your school have a unique mascot that you think we should include? Click here to share yours.
Alabama: Tabernacle Christian School (Gardendale): The Torches
The Torches compete in eight-man football and have appeared in the playoffs every year since their inception and have claimed two state titles.
Alaska: Palmer High School: The Moose
Arizona: Yuma Union High School: The Criminals
The Criminals got their unique name after the high school took up residence in the Yuma Territorial Prison after a fire in 1910; Pro Football Hall of Famer Curley Culp is an alum.
Arkansas: Fordyce High School: The Redbugs
California: Yuba City High School: The Honkers
The Honkers get their name from the Canadian geese that migrate through the area. It was one of the largest schools in Northern California before the school was divided in 2005.
Colorado: Rocky Ford High School: The Meloneers
Connecticut: The Westminster School (Simsbury): The Martlets
The Martlets' tradition in football dates to the early 1910s and the private school’s mascot derives its nickname from a symbolic bird that's often found in family crests.
Delaware: Salesianum School (Wilmington): The Sallies
Florida: Key West High School: The Conchs
The Conchs at Key West High School – the largest school in Monroe County – derive their nickname the famous mollusk that's common in the Florida Keys.
Georgia: Cairo High School: The Syrupmakers
Hawaii: Punahou School (Honolulu): The Buff n’ Blue
The Buff n’ Blue – their nickname comes from the color of the sand and ocean of Hawaii – have sent numerous athletes to the NFL, including Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o.
Idaho: Shelley High School: The Russets
Illinois: Hoopeston Area High School: The Cornjerkers
The Cornjerkers play in the Sweetcorn Capital of the World in Hoopeston; they get their name from the term used to describe the shucking of corn in the days before industrial machinery.
(photo via ihsa.org)
Indiana: Frankfort High School: The Hot Dogs
Iowa: Sheldon Community Senior High School: The Orabs
The Orabs have been perennial contenders for the Iowa state championship, coming closest to winning in 2005. The team got its nickname from a combination of the school’s colors: orange and black.
Kansas: Hesston High School: The Swathers
Kentucky: Somerset High School: The Briar Jumpers
The Briar Jumpers – a pretty nifty way to say “rabbits” – were one of the first teams to play football in Kentucky and have played in over five state championship games.
(Photo via somerset.k12.in.us)
Louisiana: Crowley High School: The Gents
Maine: Brewer High School: The Witches
The Witches of Brewer High School are made up of players from nearly 10 towns in southeastern Maine. The 1970 team was named to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame after winning the state title.
Maryland: Allegany High School (Cumberland): The Campers
Massachusetts: Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (Oak Bluffs): The Vineyarders
The Vineyarders are considered one of the best football programs in the state, having won five state championships and appearing in eight other title games.
Michigan: Mount Clemens High School: The Battling Bathers
Minnesota: Blooming Prairie High School (Blooming Prairie): The Awesome Blossoms
The Awesome Blossoms got their name from a student in 1969 who redesigned their existing mascot (the Blossom) to give it its current “fiercer” look.
Mississippi: St. Stanislaus College (Bay St. Louis): The Rock-A-Chaws
Missouri: David H. Hickman High School (Columbia): The Kewpies
The Kewpies took home the Missouri state championship in 2005; they’ve had their name for over 100 years and adopted it after a school secretary who had one of the popular dolls on her desk.
Montana: Chinook High School (Chinook): The Sugarbeeters
Nebraska: Omaha Benson High School: The Bunnies
The Bunnies of Omaha Benson High School are one of the oldest schools and programs in the state of Nebraska. Their most famous alum is 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick.
Nevada: Cheyenne High School (North Las Vegas): The Desert Shields
New Jersey: St. Augustine Preparatory School (Richland): The Hermits
The Hermits won the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association championship in 1995. They derive their name from St. Augustine of Hippo.
New Mexico: Mesilla Valley Christian School (Las Cruces): The Sonblazers
New York: Stuyvesant High School (New York City): The Peglegs
The Peglegs of Stuyvesant High are one of the most prestigious public high schools in New York City. They take their nickname from their namesake, Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of New York.
North Carolina: Cary High School: The Imps
North Dakota: New Salem High School: The Holsteins
The Holsteins of New Salem High School play in one of the smallest towns in the state (the population of New Salem is less than 950). They take their name from the breed of cattle used in dairy farms.
Ohio: Fredericktown High School: The Freddies
Oklahoma: Chickasha High School: The Fightin’ Chicks
The Fightin’ Chicks, despite coming from a comparatively small school, have sent several players to the NFL. Perhaps the most famous is former Washington Redskins Pro Bowler Stephen Davis.
Oregon: Tillamook High School: The Cheesemakers
Pennsylvania: Williamsport Area High School: The Millionaires
The Millionaires earned their unique name the hard way. Williamsport, Pennsylvania was once the lumber capital of the country and had more millionaires per person than any other city in the country.
Rhode Island: Classical High School (Providence): The Purples
South Carolina: Bishop England High School (Charleston): The Battling Bishops
The Battling Bishops were named the top athletics program in the state by Sports Illustrated in 2009. The football team won back-to-back state championships in 2011 and 2012.
South Dakota: Sturgis Brown High School (Sturgis): The Scoopers
Tennessee: Chattanooga Central High School (Harrison): The Purple Pounders
The Purple Pounders were formerly known as the Purple Warriors. After a good season in the 1930s, local sportswriters wrote about the team’s ability to “pound” their opponents and the name stuck.
(Photo via central digest.com)
Texas: Robstown High School: The Cotton Pickers
Utah: Jordan High School (Sandy): The Beetdiggers
The Beetdiggers celebrated their 110th anniversary this year; they derived their name from the beet fields that surrounded the school; up until 1950, school broke session to help with the harvest.
Vermont: Burlington High School: The Seahorses
Virginia: Fishburne Military School (Waynesboro): The Caissons
The Caissons play for the oldest military school in the state of Virginia and one of the oldest in the nation. Their name comes from a two-wheeled cart that used to be used to carry ammunition.
Washington: Ridgefield High School: The Spudders
West Virginia: Poca High School: The Dots
The Dots are consistently listed among the most unique nicknames in high school sports. They got their nickname in 1928 after a reporter said they looked like a bunch of red polka dots storming the field.
(Photo via weheartwv.com)
Wisconsin: Kaukauna High School: The Galloping Ghosts
Wyoming: Farson-Eden High School (Rock Springs): The Pronghorns
The Pronghorns play in one of the largest high schools in southern Wyoming. They are named for the pronghorn antelope, an animal unique to the western half of the United States.