By Kevin Armstrong
For today's high school students the Internet has been a part of their lives for as long as they can remember. So it's not surprising that many high school sports teams have developed first-class websites, complete with message boards, video clips and even streaming play-by-play. Here are six of the best.
Lufkin (Texas) High Sport: Football URL: LufkinPantherFootball.com An eye-catching black panther, the team's namesake, will draw you into a site that lets you download wallpaper for your computer desktop and provides handy links to keep track of football around the state. Traffic: 6,000 hits weekly. Click Here: The Facilities page shows the Panthers' 10,000-seat stadium and their indoor practice facility with a 70-yard field.
Jenks (Okla.) High Sport: Football URL: JenksTrojanFootball.com Fans of Oklahoma's top program go here to review the season to date (each game-recap page includes a story, stats and plenty of photos) and learn about pre- and postgame gatherings. Traffic: More than 2,000 hits on football Fridays. Click Here: The media page has MP3 files of some of KTBZ play-by-play man Don King's calls from each game.
Lakeland (Fla.) High Sport: Football URL: LakelandFootball.com The Dreadnaughts were USA Today's national champion in 2005, and thanks to a splashy design their site has a look and feel befitting a big-time program (including a page of links to help players who are being recruited). Traffic: 7.1 million hits last year. Click Here: The History page includes an explanation of the team's nifty nickname.
Montrose Christian Academy (Rockville, Md.) Sport: Boys' basketball URL: StuVetterBasketball.com/Montrose Make your way past the Jumpman logo animation (Nike sponsors the team), and you'll find endorsements of coach Stu Vetter from Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Texas' Rick Barnes. Click Here: The list of Vetter's Former Players includes retired NBA forwards Dennis Scott and George Lynch and current Denver Nuggets forward Linas Kleiza.
Our Lady of Lourdes Academy (Miami) Sport: Girls' cross-country URL: hometeamsonline.com/visit/?u=LOURDESXC&sport=htosports&t=c The design is rudimentary, but the content is extremely thorough, with individual bios, team records, a photo page that includes snapshots of fund-raisers and training trips, and a Hall of Fame. An added touch: Several pages load with psyche songs playing in the background. Traffic: 10,000 hits this year and counting.
St. Xavier High (Cincinnati) Sports: All URL: StXavier.org Every single sports event, from jayvee bowling to varsity football, at this all boys' school is covered by at least one of the 30 students who contribute to this site. Click Here: The school produces its own live play-by-play (called by adult St. Xavier staffers) of every home football and basketball game.