Jamboree kicks off much-anticipated gridiron action

Aug. 16, 2014 @ 10:34 PM

With the real thing just a week away, exhilarated high school football fans descended on Sevier County High School’s Burchfield Stadium Friday night for the sixth annual Smoky Mountain Kick-off Jamboree.

The teams played admirably in nearly four-hour exhibition, fighting back jitters and giving the crowd — which might have been a record for the yearly event — quite a show.

All in all, the jamboree has been a great experience for the fans. 

It’s a place where all of the local teams and their supporters can come together and celebrate Sevier County high school football. And all the money raised by the celebration is shared only by our local schools.

There are some issues with the jamboree, however.  Because of regular-season district alignments, smaller schools Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are always forced to “play up” against Sevier County and Seymour.

This is especially tough for the Tigers, who perpetually draw the short end of the stick each year by being paired with the homestanding Smoky Bears, a traditional 6A powerhouse.

Still, the event is a huge positive, and perhaps, in years ahead more teams could be added.

Northview Academy, after all, will have a varsity team next year. Whether another team is invited to participate to keep the squad number even, or one of the local teams will play twice, is unknown at this point.

Perhaps The King’s Academy, a growing program that’s had to play eight-man football in its recent jamboree blowouts of Tennessee School for the Deaf, could be considered, even though it’s a private school.

The jamboree is an anticipated event each year that allows people from around the county to visit with neighbors and fans of other schools in the county, a rare opportunity for rivals to unite with no real stakes on the line.

Hopefully the event will continue to flourish and grow.