Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

OK, we think it’s time to wade into a controversial matter this week at The List.
Forget about politics and religion. That’s child’s play. And, honestly, at The List, we don’t really pay much attention to that stuff anyway.
No, we’re talking about the fight over the top 10 stadiums in the state. There are just so many great ones. We’re staring at a long list of potential choices, and we can only pick 10. We hardly know where to start. But how about at No. 10?
10. Memorial Stadium (Waycross)
We’re a sucker for history and uniqueness with these stadiums, and Waycross does well with both. Memorial opened in 1949 and was home to the Waycross Braves Minor League baseball team 1956-58 and 63. They still have the classic covered seating behind home plate, where fans can avoid rain or the hot South Georgia sun.
9. Central Gwinnett Stadium
Anyone who’s seen the distinctive castle setup for the press box isn’t likely to forget it. It basically dwarfs the stands and just about anything else in the stadium and casts an imposing figure over the field. The yellow “C” on the front of it is also a nice touch. Fitting for a Black Knight.
8. Grady Stadium
While the recent renovations have definitely made this stadium look nicer, the big draw here is the unequaled view. It’s sitting right in the heart of midtown, and the Atlanta skyline sits prominently to the northwest. On a nice night from the east stands, you really can’t beat it. Just don’t let it distract you too much from the game.
7. Northcutt Stadium (Marietta)
Someday, they may build a new stadium down the road by the new high school. But, for now, old Northcutt still hosts the Blue Devils, just as it’s done for the past 70-plus years. It’s not the prettiest to look at, but the history here is great. It’s also basically built into a neighborhood near downtown. And it was the home to Cobb County’s only state champion in 1967.
6. Shamrock Bowl (Dublin)
It’s interesting how this stadium came to be. After Dublin won state titles in 1959 and 60, the school realized they had simply outgrown 20-year-old Battle Field. So local businessman Don Lamb went to the community and raised enough money through promissory notes to fund this great patch of green in Dublin. It’s now seen two of its own state titles, and the community still loves the place.
5. McConnell-Talbert Stadium (Northside-WR, Warner Robins, Houston County)
Maybe the best “community” stadium in the state, McConnell-Talbert has seen more than its share of big games during its time. Of course, every game can seem like a big one when more than 10,000 fans pack the place on a given Friday night. There’s a reason the home team just doesn’t lose a whole lot here.
4. Cantrell Stadium (McEachern)
On a selfish note, they probably do have the best press box in the state (seriously, it’s four stories and has Wi-Fi), but let’s not focus on our own comfort here. Let’s look at the turf, the beautiful campus, the huge Indian overlooking the place. It’s just a great place to watch a football game.
3. Martin Stadium (Lowndes)
You really can’t miss this one if you’ve ever driven down this way, as it looms large right near the interstate. More than one driver has probably assumed it’s Valdosta State’s stadium. But no, this one’s for high school, and it’s incredible under the lights on a Friday night. Doesn’t hurt that Lowndes has one of the state’s best programs, but this place would be awesome either way.
2. Bazemore-Hyder Stadium (Valdosta)
The temptation is to put this No. 1, but that almost seemed too predictable. The history is amazing. The setting in the middle of an unassuming neighborhood is fantastic. The recent renovations only made this place better. Heck, there’s even a museum in the stadium, dedicated to the program’s history. Hard to beat it.
1. Granite Bowl (Elbert County)
Approaching its 60th birthday, it’s one of the loudest and perhaps the most unique stadium in Georgia. It’s built directly into an old ravine that once sat between the school and the Elbert County courthouse, made with 100,000 tons of blue granite. They can cram 15,000 people in this behemoth, and the crowd noise seems to reverberate around the granite. Adding to the history, the scoreboard was the old Sanford Stadium scoreboard they used prior to the bowl being closed. You have to see a game here if you love high school football.
And now it’s time for you to tell us how wrong we are. We want to hear it. What’s your favorite stadium? Why should your favorite school be on this list? What makes their stadium the best? What would you do with 100,000 tons of granite? Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.

120 comments Add your comment

HSFB Follower

October 17th, 2012
7:53 pm

Chris Gillman Stadium (Camden County) has to be included for not only the stadium but the tailgating!


October 17th, 2012
8:01 pm

The Boneyard at East Paulding has a great atmosphere since East Paulding started winning in recent years but, as far as the stadium itself is concerned, it has the worst field of any stadium I have ever seen. Only went to Callaway Stadium one time when Tift County played LaGrange for the state championship. The stadium was woefully inadequate to handle the crowd and was the smallest stadium by far that Tift County played in. The new renovations at Cartersville are nice but the press box is tiny and the,stadium doesn’t begin to compare to the northwest Georgia stadiums in Dalton, Rdgeland or Rome. McConnell-Talbert is a great place to watch a game. As far as the track comment is concerned, there are many stadiums with tracks that are very nice and are great places to watch a game.


October 17th, 2012
8:02 pm

If you have never been to Rabun County High on a Friday night, you are missing a beautiful sight. Just before kick-off, the sun sets over the mountains and the lights show off a well manicured game feild. Not a huge stadium, but set up well.


October 17th, 2012
8:16 pm

I’m new to GA High School Football and do not know much about the traditions of the stadiums listed, but I have recently visited “The BrickYard” of North Hall, and Frank Snyder Stadium in Rabun County and was very impressed with both. The whole campus of Rabun county was absolutly beautiful. The playing surface was probably the most level of any that I have seen.


October 17th, 2012
8:17 pm

I’m surprised there is little love for Carrollton and NO love for Buford. Buford has one of the finer stadiums in the state, much less AAA.


October 17th, 2012
8:20 pm

The only problem I saw with Valdosta’s stadium was the short in the scoreboard that causes it to turn off 5 seconds after the Cats lose. I’ve heard others mention the same problem so I know it wasn’t a one time event. I even had fun with all the Valdosta fans sitting in the middle of the visitors.


October 17th, 2012
8:25 pm

I guess part of your like/dislike for a stadium depends on what happened there for you. I have very fond memories of Death Valley, the Avondale stadium. Most of the time, the home and visitors both sat in that big old concrete stadium. Occasionally we had visitors in the bleachers across the field but not often.

@yo, I understand you like to be closer but I really liked the track around the field. The cheerleaders can be right there and when I was growing up, we used to build floats on 53′ flat bed trailers and then have the diesel tractors pull them around the field. Tons of fun!

Region 7-AAA

October 17th, 2012
8:25 pm

Gainesville, North Hall and Flowery Branch up in Hall County have very nice stadiums. Buford does as well.


October 17th, 2012
8:30 pm

Slinger, you are right about Tiger Stadium in Commerce, Great atmosphere, especially when Jefferson comes to town. The only bad part about Tiger Stadium is half the game your running uphill and the other half your running downhill. Playing surface needs some work.


October 17th, 2012
8:34 pm

@ 5-Time == You don’t need to guess about my reasoning. I laid it all out for you. I have been to a few nice stadiums and will give credit to those that deserve it. The only good thing was the up-close proximity of the stands to the field. I love stadiums with no track because it puts you closer to the action. You think I feel this way because we lost to Colquit. That is not it. I said what I said because the topic was Top Ten Stadiums and you thought you might add it to the list and I stated why I think it should not be on the list. Let that go about our loss to Colquit. I have.

Fair n Balanced

October 17th, 2012
8:37 pm

Granite Bowl is correct choice for #1 !!!!!!!


October 17th, 2012
8:45 pm

I can tell Jeff Haws has never suited up and played at the Granite Bowl….well I have and it is one of the worst places to play football. You can talk history, size and crowd noise but there is nothing good about it.

Not a Trojan

October 17th, 2012
8:46 pm

Grisham Stadium on Carrollton is top notch. The new seats make it one of the top ten if not the best in Ga.


October 17th, 2012
8:49 pm

You really hurt your credability not having Grisham Stadium on the list, it has to be in the top two.

Nuff said me

October 17th, 2012
8:53 pm

Three years ago Carrollton’s ” Grisham stadium” was listed as the readers pick as the State wide best by ajc. Three years later it is not even on the list !

” 1) Carrollton High School’s Grisham Stadium

You said, “Has got to be Grisham Stadium-Maddox Track at Historic Trojan Field in Carrollton, Ga. That place is immaculate. Turf field, chair back-fold down seats, jumbotron, 2 story fieldhouse and 2 story press box.”


October 17th, 2012
9:02 pm

I’ve always liked Tara Stadium a lot. it looks really nice and I wouldn’t be surprised if you could fit 30,000 people in there.


October 17th, 2012
9:03 pm

Sorry, but Valdosta’s stadium should not be on this list. History or no, the visitor side is a dump. Home side is second to one, but you must look at the whole package.


October 17th, 2012
9:08 pm

Let’s face it, just about any stadium/football field is a great place to be on Friday night in Georgia! The atmosphere and the excitement does not depend on the facility in which the game is played; it depends on the competitive spirit of the teams on the field and the enthusiasm of the fans. (I might make an exception for Memorial Stadium in Waycross. That was a great 1950’s Class D baseball stadium, but it is a lousy football venue.)


October 17th, 2012
9:21 pm

Can’t wait to see Martin Stadium under the lights when they play Camden County. It is going to be epic. Love the list, but the only place I would want to be on Friday night is where ever my Wildcats are playing. That makes that stadium the best one in the WORLD.

Moonshine Dawg

October 17th, 2012
9:22 pm

Did someone say Harmon Field in Dalton? Bah hah hah, that place is a dump. It makes my list of WORST stadiums in Georgia. Agree with Granite Bowl as the top.

Worst List (no particular order) based on home and visitor accommodations plus press facilities

Lincoln County
Greene County
Harmon Field / Dalton
Union County
Athens Academy
Riverside Milt. Acad.


October 17th, 2012
9:24 pm

The Jackets Nest for Thomas County Central is a cool stadium. Love all the trees around behind the visitor side, feels like south Georgia, and a fantastic location. One of the few places I know of that makes total use of video before, during and after the game.


October 17th, 2012
9:25 pm

Carrollton stadium has stadium seats 2 story field house all brick with elevators in it…..4th biggest scoreboard in the state behind only the likes of pro team and colleges……btw quite a tradition and a lot of championship there….sum like a college stadium

ga gator

October 17th, 2012
9:27 pm

Have not been to that many stadiums since I have lived in Georgia (2005); Flowery Branch, Mill Creek, Stephens County, Lumpkin County, Collins Hill, Roswell, Habersham County, Rabun County, Carrolton, passed by Lowndes County and Elbert County. Elbert is easily the most unique in my 59 years and very loud with the granite..


October 17th, 2012
9:28 pm

The stadium at Parkview in Gwinnett is quite nice.

Marietta fan

October 17th, 2012
9:28 pm

I agree with this list, although I do have one problem with Camden’s stadium. When Marietta played down there in the playoffs last year, we had a rogue fan from the “home” section of the visitors side come over to some of our fans and started causing problems. He appeared to be drunk and our AD went and got an officer to make him go away. Other than this, everything was great and the Camden fans do a great job supporting their team!

Marietta fan

October 17th, 2012
9:31 pm

@ Moonshinedawg you can add Hillgrove to your list. There are no visitor stands and you have to sit in the dirt on top of a hill if you’re the visiting fans


October 17th, 2012
9:32 pm

Good choices! The Granite Bowl is one of a kind and can’t be beat! If you have not seen it, it is worth the trip to Elberton, Georgia!


October 17th, 2012
9:37 pm

I can’t agree less with #7. Yes it has a nice history but it has to be the worst stadium I’ve been to. I surprised that Milton High didn’t make the list because they have an awsome stadium. No track around the field and the lowest seating still has an excellent view of the whole field (except through fog) lol.


October 17th, 2012
9:57 pm

Central Gwinnett Stadium? Jeff, in all humility and sincerity, that is positively the dumbest, most foolish, childish, idiotic, and stupid assertion in the history of the AJC Sports Pages. My friend, I really don’t know how you can find the Men’s room without a guide. Geesh. You are an embarassement to common sense. That stadium was too small when my son went undefeated in 7th grade! Geesh!

T-Town Glory

October 17th, 2012
10:44 pm

With all due respect Jeff, I cant believe that “Brickyard” Stadium (Home to the Thomson Bulldogs) did not make your Top 10. There have been few stadiums that have hosted as many games and the history of how it became the “Brickyard” is a phenominal story. Anyone that has a history of high school football in Georgia knows of the intimidating Brickyard and the “ghosts” that reside in those bricks!
I would say another honorable mention would be the Academy of Richmond County’s Stadium. Not only did three high schools use this as their home stadium at one time (ARC, Westside-Augusta, & Laney) but Richmond Academy is the oldest high school in the state of Georgia.


October 17th, 2012
10:47 pm

I have been to Valdosta’s Bazemore stadium and I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Other than the fact it is old, and nostalgic. But let me tell you the parking is terrible. And if you don’t like Friday night football then I hope you don’t live near that stadium because if you do you are right in the middle of it all for the entire evening.

T-Town Glory

October 17th, 2012
10:48 pm

I would also like to add that the “Brickyard” stadium has also recently been enlarged as well as new seating and bleachers. Also, the press box in Brickyard Stadium would put most small Colleges and Universities to shame!!!


October 17th, 2012
10:53 pm

MG: Bulls eye on “The Granite Bowl”….Was their in the downpour this year, very special venue and definitely loud when it is pouring down…….a great football town also……biggest rain storm I have been in since West Point in the 60’s, ….City Park in Gainesville is very unique and can get loud if you let the red Elephants get loose


October 17th, 2012
11:01 pm

Tara stadium was a great place to play, but it does not compare to the schools that have the big stadiums in their back yard. I always felt that sharing a county stadium hurt the programs in Clayton and Dekalb. Don’t get me wrong some very good teams from Morrow, Forest Park, and SW Dekalb came out of Clayton and Dekalb, but overall it hurt the overall community involvment not having your own personal stadiums. It was always difficult to go on the road to Griffin and Newnan back in the 80’s and compete in those big stadiums and home field atmospheres. The kids in the big state programs should be very proud to have a nice stadium on their home turf.


October 17th, 2012
11:34 pm

Grisham Stadium has my vote. That stadium can easily give the Trojans a slight advantage because of the awe factor. Top notch facilities.

Monroe's First Redcoat

October 18th, 2012
1:14 am


I’m with you on Gainesville’s City Park – great venue with a boatload of tradition. Been to many, many games at the Granite Bowl…NOTHING tops that place…..Central Gwinnett’s field is a great venue too, no matter how many games I’ve covered there, that castle/Press Box is just awesome to h=behold….


October 18th, 2012
1:56 am

None of them compare to the stadiums in Texas.

some people

October 18th, 2012
6:49 am

@observer…we’re not talking about texas stadiums so why bring them up. The topic is about GA. stadiums. If you want to talk texas’s facilitys then go to a texas high school football blog.


October 18th, 2012
8:06 am


The Boneyard has a great name, is quirky and quaint especially with the Raider ship and cannon, but make no mistake it doesn’t belong on a list like this. It is our little mud hole and is a definite home field advantage as most kids these days aren’t used to playing on a pitted and potted track like it is. They try to keep it painted nicely but it really is a rough field. Like I said it has one of the greatest nicknames ever and is ours but…. Overall great ….probably not. :)

Mickey King

October 18th, 2012
8:19 am

As a former Marietta Blue Devil player and lifelong fan, I can attest that our Northcutt Stadium deserves this recognition. The close proximity to the action, natural turf, historic feel of the venue and gathering point for our whole community on Friday nights at our beloved stadium make Northcutt a very special place for our players, fans and visitors. And, I think it is beautiful! Go Big Blue!

To Tell the Truth

October 18th, 2012
8:23 am

No Doubt, Hyder Bazemore Stadium in Valdosta which used to be known as Cleveland Field. It is the most state of the art stadiums for high school football.

Hands down!!!

Dragstrip Road

October 18th, 2012
8:36 am


October 18th, 2012
8:37 am

Northcutt Stadium (Marietta HS) is rich in tradition and playing “tween the rocks” or “in the cutt” is a special experience.


October 18th, 2012
8:55 am


Come on Man !!!!!


October 18th, 2012
9:09 am

I have never seen it but I have always heard that carrollton has the best stadium hands down I mean think about it, a college use to use this stadium and made all these upgrades to it and they say it even has televisions at every player’s station in the locker rooms. sounds like this guy who picked these top ten stadiums is a littlw partial.

Colquitt Supporter

October 18th, 2012
9:16 am

@ Sportsnut, I guess the only thing you have to do is complain about Colquitt County. You are correct that our stadium is not top 10 – probably not top 25 but your racial comments concerning where our fans sit is wrong. The home field side consists of all races both in the reserve section and the general admission sections. Since the reserve section on the home field side is probably the midle 40 yards or so, I suspect that any Packer fans on the visitor side are trying to get a better seat – just a guess. If you do not like the smell, you should take a shower.

Go Cougas!

October 18th, 2012
9:32 am

Newnan’s Drake Stadium has new facilities and deserves to be on the list. If you haven’t seen the Drake, then you need to come out and enjoy a great “small town” atmosphere with a ton of Cougar Pride. I am guessing hat many people have not visited Newnan since the new field, so I urge you Haw to come watch the Cougars play.

I am surprised to see Northcut so high on the list. I agree with the history and community support, but the visitor side is awful and the field is a giant mound. I did like the up close and personal seating that was 10 feet from the field and the big win that Newnan had.

red devil fan

October 18th, 2012
9:55 am

Maybe not the most beautiful ,but full of history, same field the red devils have played on for over 70 years, playoff games that can’t be described, stadium full 3-4 hours before kickoff, L.Campbell, one of a kind !!!

Old Gold

October 18th, 2012
9:57 am

The Brickyard in Thomson definitely should be in the top 10.


October 18th, 2012
10:42 am

Charlie Davidson Field at Tiger Stadium in Washington, Georgia has seen a lot of games. Washington-Wilkes started playing football in the same spot in 1919. Over 350 wins at Tiger Stadium. Not the biggest or fanciest but “buckle up” if you come here to play the Tigers.