Friday Night Lights. Throughout Walton EMC’s service area and around the nation, this phrase has one clear meaning: high school football.
Friday nights at 7 p.m. is when the action gets underway for the Titans, Warriors, Spartans, Lions, Rams, Generals, Comets and more. Walton EMC supplies electricity to 12 local high schools with football facilities. We’re proud to be the power source that makes Friday night lights possible for each.
Walton EMC is proud to be the power source that
makes Friday night lights possible.
A Pigskin Past
Georgia schools have been fielding teams for competitive football matchups since 1896, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. In fact, Walton County was home to one of the state’s first high school football programs that, in 1920, formed the Georgia Interscholastic Athletic Association, predecessor to today’s Georgia High School Association.
Monroe A & M, located in Monroe, served what was then a rural area of Georgia. Though it was more vocational-technical school than an actual high school, it qualified for the purposes of fielding a football team, historians note. Coached by Monroe institution David Irenius “Red” Barron, the team competed for a state championship for the next 17 years. Before World War II, A & M was replaced by North Walton High School, which later merged with other schools to become what is now Monroe Area High School.
Most high schools in this area began playing
football games at night in the 1960s.
A Tradition is Born
Though our region is rich in high school football history, it wasn’t until the 1960s that schools in this area first installed lights that made it possible to play games at night. That’s when the notion of “Friday night lights” was born. Since then, prep gridiron matchups have provided the traditional kickoff to fall football weekends that also include collegiate and professional games.
In September 1968, Walton EMC’s member newsletter featured photos and an article about the installation of lights at Oconee County High School. As was typical then, school booster clubs, civic organizations, government agencies and the cooperative teamed up to buy and install the lights. In this case, the lighting installation was the icing on a newly constructed football and baseball field.
“A lighting system has just been installed which consists of 160 fixtures each containing a 1,500 watt bulb. Six poles each house 16 lights and two poles house 32 lights,” the story reported.
Under the lights
Since area games began being played under the lights, Walton EMC has served in an important role at fields and stadiums. Then, and now, we deliver the dependable electricity teams and fans count on.
Walton EMC provides the electricity to light up The Grove, home stadium for Walnut Grove High’s Warriors. And we power the scoreboard for the Brookwood High Broncos.
We’re also the power source that helps TD Club members crank out hot foods and cold beverages for Loganville’s Red Devils fans. Plus, co-op electricity powers the public address system, turns on the lights in the locker rooms and heats water for the laundry facilities at high schools like Prince Avenue Christian and Parkview.
This year’s high school football season kicks off
for most on Friday night, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m.
This year’s high school football season kicks off for most on Friday night, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. Like those we serve, Walton EMC is conditioned and ready for a great season.
Let the games begin!
Image 1: In September 1968, the installation of lights on a new football field at Oconee High School was the cover story for Walton EMC’s member newsletter.
Image 2: A photo from a 1968 newsletter article shows Walton EMC linemen helping to make “Friday Night Lights” a possibility at Oconee High School.