Walker Brittain CFNN Football Reporter
On Friday night, September 13, 2019, UNC and Wake Forest played a football game that kicked off at 6:00 p.m. As the teams ran down the field during the first play, traffic was still at a stand still on Interstate 40 in Raleigh and across the state. High school teams were just warming up for their games. Friday nights in the fall have traditionally been a time for high school football, but more and more college teams are following the lure of TV money to this prime turf.
“I don’t like playing on Friday nights because, to me, Friday night is for high school football, and that’s something that we always believe,” said UNC Football coach Mack Brown in an interview during the week leading up to the Wake Forest game. “And this was a Thursday night game that got moved to Friday.”
“I’d rather Friday night be sacred for just high schools. That’s the way I’ve always felt and I think it’s important.” said Brown.
While Cape Fear a did not have game last Friday because it was their open week, the September 13 game was Wake Forest’s 3rd Friday night game this year. Friday nights have been good for Wake Forest, as the team is undefeated so far this season, repeating this streak with a 24-18 win over the Tar Heels on the 13th.
Cape Fear Alum Jaylen Hudson is a redshirt freshman for the Demon Deacons this year. Luckily, Cape Fear’s bye and Hudson’s redshirt status meant Colt fans did have to choose between watching the former Cape Fear star play at the next level and pulling for their current Colts. However if this trend continues, football fans may have to make a tough decision on Friday nights. What will the effect of Friday Night College Football be on the traditional High School games?
Earl Vaughan, Jr., former Fayetteville Observer sports writer, current columnist for Up and Coming Weekly, and frequent Twitter sports commentator, suggested that the North Carolina General Assembly get involved in the debate.
“N.C. State legislators, how about a law barring our state colleges from hijacking Friday nights from high school football?” Vaughan tweeted on the day after the UNC-Wake Forest game.
However, it does make sense for the Demon Deacons and other similar colleges to play on Fridays.
Wake Forest University is the smallest college of the Power 5 football conferences, so naturally they have the smallest fan base despite having a winning record the last 3 seasons.
While they garner little media attention, Wake Forest as an undefeated team exceeding expectations can use all the exposure it can get, so being able to play on ESPN is a big deal, regardless of whether it is on a Friday or a Saturday.
As one ESPN commentators said on Friday night, “This is what you come to an ACC school for, Friday Night Primetime, fourth quarter, one score game.”
This is what schools like Wake Forest want to be a part of, and it is taking away from the excitement of traditional Friday night high school football.