The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The 12th man: Exploring CHS’ home field advantage


At the regional final football game against QO Nov. 18, CHS arguably had its best showing of school spirit in years. The bleachers were filled to capacity, and the crowd never stopped cheering.


In the middle of the mob was a wall of students, who despite the low gametime temperature of 40 degrees, remained shirtless for the entire game.

Story continues below advertisement


“I will do anything that I can to help pump up the players to help them win,” said senior Will Conway, a member of the wall that went shirtless for the game.


Senior Bryan Moritt, another shirtless crusader, was so enticed by the game that the weather was not a factor.


“The game was so exciting, I did not really feel anything,” Moritt added.


The game was not the only time this year where the fans came out to support the football team. They routinely filled the stands at all the home games, and the impact their presence had was clear.


This year, the Bulldogs finished flawless at home with a perfect 6-0 record. But the trend does not end there. Over the past eight years, CHS has compiled an impressive 32-8 (.800) record at home, well above the Montgomery County average, one that sees home teams win only .527 percent of the time.


“At home the fans are amazing, and you feel awesome as soon as you step in the stadium,” senior linebacker and team captain Jacob Suissa said. “This year, CHS fans ruled Montgomery County. We traveled really well.”


In the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks brag about having the league’s best home field advantage, even boasting a giant flag with the number 12 on it to stand for the twelfth man. Their claim to this is that by using the formula (home winning percentage – away winning percentage), the difference is the greatest in the league.


From 2003 to 2010, they had a home-winning percentage of .690 and an away winning percentage of .360. Using the formula, they had a home field advantage of .330, the top in the league.


In CHS’ previous eight years, the Bulldogs have compiled an impressive .800 winning percentage at home, while only mustering a 14-26 (.350) record on the road. By the same formula, CHS has a home field advantage of .450, significantly higher than the one Seattle brags about.


Within Montgomery County, the Cougar Dome, QO’s home field, is often regarded as the toughest place to play. The fans are known as the Red Army, and it is rare for an opposing team to go in and defeat the Cougars. Since 2003, QO has unsurprisingly amassed a .893 winning percentage at home, but this could easily be credited to the overall ability of the team, rather than the Cougar Dome’s atmosphere. In the same span, the Cougars have won .818 of their away games, only a .075 percent drop off from their home record.


The question remains: how has Shepherd Stadium at Danver Field become one of the county’s toughest places to play?


 The SGA has done its part to get the students to attend games. They brought back the Superfan shirts this year that had been missing since 2008, as well as introduced the Superfan Kickoff Cookout in an attempt to draw fans to the game earlier.


“Once you hear about it, you want to be a part of it,” SGA sponsor Scott Selman said.


Another advantage of playing at home is knowing the turf. While CHS is known for having the best grass in the county, not all schools can keep the field up to par.


“You are used to everything on your field,” Suissa said. “Playing on the road, you are not sure how the field condition is.”


The players on the field also took notice of the extra spirit this year.


“Fans can change the whole dynamic of the game,” Suissa said. “If you are going into a tough game, and you’re not sure about the outcome, and you look over to the sidelines and just see a sea of people in blue and green cheering you on, you get so pumped up. You feel like you need to win.”


The success is not limited to just football. Over the past five years, the boys basketball team has also enjoyed great success while playing at home.


Dating back to the 2006-2007 season, the team has posted a 30-17 (.639) record at home, and only a 20-35 (.363) record on the road. The team has had a .276 improved winning percentage at home versus on the road, a large difference.


“I’d say that our fans are right up there with the loudest in the county,” senior point guard Christian Bonaparte said. “At times we get so loud, I can’t hear the plays that Coach Miller is calling out.”


When asked separately, four different varsity basketball players from last year said Magruder was the toughest place to play in the county. However, in the past six seasons, it has an identical winning percentage (.672) at home and on the road, indicating the team does not quite get the boost that playing at home supposedly gives.


According to Wootton senior guard Chad Rudden, fans can either positively or negatively affect players, and CHS fans are always passionate.


“CHS fans definitely get pretty rowdy,” Rudden said. “Their side of the gym is always pretty packed, and they usually bring the noise. They do say some offensive things, but the same thing goes for the Wootton fans too, so it’s all just part of the rivalry.”


The success in recent years of the teams that draw the largest crowds is undeniable. Many of the fans who attend the games might not have supporting the team as their top priority, but according to Bonaparte, they still get the job done.


“When you play at home, the fans are really helpful,” Bonaparte said. “Just by them getting loud it seems you get a whole new gear you can raise your energy to.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The 12th man: Exploring CHS’ home field advantage