Why Does the Haughton High School Stadium Have a 59-Yard Line?
This year, I have the esteemed privilege and honor of being the voice of the Haughton High School Buccaneers for their home games. It's always been a dream of mine to announce football games, and it has been a blast thanks to the great folks I get to work with. Honestly, it's hard to put into words just how incredible the people that run the Buc's football program have been - Haughton is simply packed with good people. That's why the story of why they have (and will for the rest of the season) a "59" yard line is so sad, and such a powerful reminder of how important it is to live in an area with a strong sense of community.
The "59" yard-line made its debut at the homecoming game on Friday
This past Friday (9-17) was homecoming for the Haughton Buccaneers, and that's the first time fans got to see the "59" yard-line. Obviously, winning the game was important. You don't want to go to the dance after a loss, after all. Any other year, that fact alone would be enough to super-charge the team and set their minds on winning - but that wasn't what drove the Bucs to their 40-0 victory over the Booker T Washington Lions. It was the sudden and shocking death of one of their own - starting senior defensive lineman Christian "Bo" Smith.
59 was Christian's number
Smith wasn't just a huge part of the Buccaneer's defensive line, he was the heart and soul of the team. His death left the team, school, and the entire community of Haughton, Louisiana reeling. That being said, I am so happy to report that Christian Smith is still (and will always be) a driving force for the Bucs.
School officials decided that the best way to honor him would be to make sure his number is proudly displayed for all to see at every home game for the rest of the season - and there is no more prominent place on the gridiron than smack-dab on the middle of the field at the 50 yard-line.
The overwhelming victory was dedicated to Christian's memory
The Buccaneers played like a team possessed, and they were. Possessed with a spirit of victory that was obviously born out of their grief and feeling of loss for Christian. Touchdown after touchdown rolled in, and the train-horns that signal another Haughton score rang out time and time again. It was electric, and that's an understatement. As you can see, the entire team and coaching staff had long moment together on their beloved 59 yard-line to reflect and dedicate this win to their fallen teammate.
Here's how you can help Christian's Family
A Go-Fund-Me page has been set up to help Christian's family cover funeral costs. The goal is to raise $20,000, and so far only $7,500 has been raised. If you can help, please donate what you can here.