The Texoma football community’s attention will be on the city of Denison Friday for the much-anticipated playoff football game between the Gunter Tigers and the Holliday Eagles, where a trip to state will be on the line.
It’s not the first time the city has hosted a playoff game of this caliber, Denison Independent School District Superintendent Henry Scott said, explaining he is anticipating a large crowd despite the forecast calling for rain Friday.
“We’ve had several playoff games over the years,” Scott said. “The largest game we’ve hosted was when Pottsboro played Whitesboro a few years ago. Gunter has played here in the past, too. They always bring a lot of people when they play.”
He said it takes a united effort between the school district and the city to bring a game like this to Denison. Scott said it requires a police presence as well as additional personnel to facilitate the game.
“We do a lot of planning,” Scott said. “We will have six off-duty police officers who will provide security for the game. We have to make arrangements for crew. We have to provide people to secure the parking areas, get an announcer, someone to manage the clock and the press box, there is a lot of preparation.”
He said it’s all worth it to bring a big crowd to the city. Scott said hosting playoff games that attract people to the local businesses is one of the perks to having such a nice stadium.
“We want to show our community to people who come in,” Scott said. “We want to be good hosts and make it a positive experience for the fans and the teams as they come to our city. We have a nice facility for a playoff game. It should be a very positive experience for everyone who comes.”
Main Street Director Donna Dow said it was good for the city to host football games because of Texans’ love of the sport.
“There will be a lot of people who come into town during the game,” Dow said. “They will eat before and after. The weather will also impact the outcome. Usually, during a playoff game, everyone wants to be there. We’re always excited when there is activity at the stadium, especially a high profile football game with all the excitement it brings.”
Dow said restaurants will especially benefit from all the people coming into the city. Amber Allenbaugh, general manager for the Food Truck Park in Denison, said she was excited for game night.
“Being across the street from the stadium, we are always happy for game day,” Allenbaugh said. “The out-of-towners boost sales and hopefully they spread the word about the only food truck park in Texoma. The stadium is loud — no one misses much of anything if you need to take a time out for food.”
Mike Reddell, general manager for Best Burger Barn, said he always anticipates a big crowd for a game night, especially when it’s a playoff game.
“Anytime there is a big event in our area, we anticipate an increase in sales, especially from out-of-towners,” Reddell said. “As a business, we welcome outside communities coming in to town, it helps promote our business to other locations. Our hometown games bring a lot of people before the game and a little rush after the games. We usually do specials for Friday night games. If customers come in wearing their spirit gear we usually give discounts.”
John Short, general manager for The Jalapeno Tree Mexican restaurant in Denison, said he sees a boost during a football game, even though his business is located across town west of Highway 75.
“During the regular season, football games impacted us greatly,” Short said. “This being a playoff game, it should have a positive impact.”
Scott said Denison ISD is looking forward to hosting the game, which he said he is planning to attend.
“I like to see Gunter play — they have been very successful,” Scott said. “I have a special interest in seeing Gunter play as they are a well-coached team and play with a lot of intensity. I am sure Holliday will do the same.”