Homecoming season in full swing
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
It's homecoming season, and area schools will be celebrating in various ways the next few weeks.
Homecoming came early for Phillipsburg High School this year, during the second week of the 2013 football season, with its homecoming activities last week.
Three of the four Ellis County high schools are in full homecoming mode this week, with school activities all week leading up to Friday's homecoming games.
Phillipsburg's royalty had a unique twist to it with five of the 12 candidates related to one another.
Michael Dusin was part of the court along with his twin sister, Mattison, who was crowned queen at pregame ceremonies. The king was Riley Juenemann, first cousin to one of the queen candidates, Madysen Frantz.
And Stephen Sage, a cross country runner and the lone non-football player in the royal court, is a first cousin to the Dusin twins.
Even better for Juenemann was the football game, where the senior quarterback led his team to a 40-0 shutout of Oberlin-Decatur Community High School for the Panthers' second victory of the young season.
Ellis County schools will try to duplicate that success Friday.
Following is a preview of this week's three county high school homecomings at Ellis, Thomas More Prep-Marian Junior-Senior High School in Hays and Victoria. Hays High School's homecoming is set for next week, with the annual HHS homecoming football game Sept. 27.
Thursday's 8 p.m. bonfire at the fairgrounds kicks off the three-day weekend. Friday's activities include a noon barbecue at the football field, followed by a powder puff football game. The parade is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m., with a pep rally to follow at the parade's end at Ninth and Jefferson streets.
A free hamburger/hot dog barbecue for the high school student body will be at the old high school, next to the football field, with the crowning of the king and queen at 6:30.
An oral auction will follow the crowning ceremony, featuring the sale of the seniors' football jerseys for fans to wear during the game; there also will be a silent auction for the jerseys of players in the other three classes.
The homecoming football game against Ellinwood is set for 7, and a school dance will begin at 10 in the high school lobby.
The local Catholic high school annually brings a lot of visitors to the campus on homecoming weekend.
This year's public activities will begin with a 7 p.m. blessing Thursday of all fall sports and activities in Al Billinger Fieldhouse, followed by a pep rally and introduction of the homecoming candidates. A bonfire outside will follow.
An open house and school tours will begin at 9 a.m., and the late afternoon parade down Main Street begins at 5:30 p.m.
Homecoming king and queen will be crowned at halftime of the football game against Larned at Lewis Field Stadium, which is set to begin at 7.
A new event will kick off Saturday's events with the inaugural Run with the Herd Homecoming 5K beginning at 9 a.m. The event is being sponsored by the class of 1988 and '98 in honor of CW2 Bryan Nichols, a member of the class of 1998 who died in Afghanistan in August 2011.
There also will be an open house at the school all day, with a Mass for deceased alumni at 11 a.m. in the Marian Chapel. There will be a freewill offering Dutch lunch at noon in the school cafeteria, and that evening's alumni activities include the alumni banquet at 5:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, followed by a dance.
The student homecoming dance will be Saturday at the Rose Garden, beginning at 8 p.m.
Because of a variety of activities scheduled for Thursday, Victoria's homecoming pep rally is a day earlier than most and will begin at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the city baseball field.
Thursday is homecoming spirit day, and Friday is float building day during the afternoon.
The homecoming parade is set for 4 p.m., followed by a tailgate party at the football field.
The crowning ceremony of the homecoming king and queen is set for 6:30 p.m., followed by the football game against Ness City at 7 p.m.
VHS' homecoming dance will be Saturday, beginning at 8 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.