This summer, the 302 Sports staff is proud to feature some of the high school football venues where we have been fortunate to broadcast, and view games over the years.
Our series of stories continues with Charles V. Williams Stadium, home of the Smyrna Eagles.
The stadium was dedicated in 1994 in the name of a man that served the school district for four decades, as Principal, Superintendent, Athletic Director, and a multi-sport coach. Mr. Williams also served his country in World War II receiving the purple heart and bronze star. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 91 years young – just one year shy of his beloved Eagle’s 1st state championship in football.
Prior to the opening of the “new” high school in 1970, the John Bassett Moore Middle School building was the high school. The football field was located between Hamilton Lane and Frazier Street. The modern era of Smyrna high varsity football commenced in 1949 with a 4-game slate under coaches Charles V. Williams, Frank Stellatella, and Robert Everett. In 1950 lights were erected around the field and soon after that an electronic scoreboard with clock. The Eagles record from 1949-1969 was 89-71-6 at the JBM field. In the 60’s, Smyrna competed in the original Diamond State Conference, which merged with the Henlopen Conference following the ’68 season.
In 1973 the Eagles won the conference title and in 1975 advanced to the State championship game in the newly-formed Division II, falling to Glasgow 38-30. It would take another 40 years before the Smyrna-Clayton community could cheer on their beloved team in a state championship game. The first of three “back-to-back-to-back” titles was secured in 2015 at Delaware Stadium in overtime against Salesianum as linebacker Eli Hutchinson tackled the Sals’ Colby Reeder for a loss on 4th and goal. The “sea of red” Smyrna fans in the East stands celebrated the win in one of the most exciting championship games ever.
Smyrna has enjoyed recent success at Charles V. Williams stadium with capacity crowds in the bleachers and those that fill the fence line around the north end zone. The stadium is located behind the high school off Duck Creek Parkway, an easy ride from the north-Smyrna exit off Route 1. The record at home since 2015 is 43-5 including a current streak of 14 wins. The atmosphere is electric on Friday nights, with an assist from the Regiment-of-Red marching band. Early in the season, the sun glare makes it a challenge for a broadcast crew calling the game from the pressbox, but as you can see from our photo, it also can provide an awesome setting.
Recent upgrades over the past few years include the entrance to the stadium, rest room facilities, and concessions. The home side bleachers can accommodate many more fans than the visiting side, thus enhancing the intimidating atmosphere for an opponent.
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