With warm temperature and a cool breeze, it was an ideal afternoon for a homecoming game, and, in a way, that is exactly what it was yesterday at Hylton High, where the home team's sideline was peppered with as many former players as the stadium's interior was dotted with blue, yellow and white balloons.
The former Bulldogs, many in town on college break, turned out to cheer for their old team during its 38-13 victory over Princess Anne in the Virginia AAA Division 6 semifinals, the school's 29th consecutive win.
"When those kids come down on the sideline, it's a tremendous lift because they're in it just like if they were in uniform," Hylton Coach Bill Brown said. "This is their team. And some of them, this is their streak.
"We don't want too many people on the sideline. But our players who come back, they have a sideline pass. That's a given, and we want them there, because we know they're with us."
Some of the ex-Bulldogs on hand, such as Boyd Ouden, Robert Downing and David Stevenson, played for Hylton last year when it beat Varina to win the state championship. Those teams will meet again in the title game at 4 p.m. Saturday at the University of Richmond.
"It's like they're not forgetting us," senior lineman John Brower said. "These guys, they love us still. Even though they graduated, this is still their home. This is where they like to be."