GREEN BAY, Wis. – Christopher Frelich
City Stadium in Green Bay, Wis., is one of a very select few locations where high school games are played in a former NFL stadium.
Photo by Greg Bates
knows he's in a unique position. A great position.
Every home game, the East (Green Bay, Wis.)
quarterback is not only representing the school when he hits the field, but he's also following in the footsteps of those who played on the field before him.
The Green Bay East football team has the distinct honor of playing all its home games at old City Stadium, the home of the Green Bay Packers from 1925 to 1956. The Packers won six world championships during that time. The team outgrew old City Stadium and moved to new City Stadium, which was later renamed Lambeau Field - the spot NFL fans are very familiar with.See photos and video from the venue at the bottom of the story
Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg both played their first career games at City Stadium. Don Hutson, who has been called the first true wide receiver, played his entire career on the same field. In all, 87 Pro Football Hall of Fame members, including 11 Packers, played regular-season or postseason games at the historic stadium.
"I look out there and think of all the greats that have played on that field before," Frelich said. "I think about how lucky I am to be able to play quarterback on that field."
Before every East game, the public address announcer reiterates that the teams are playing at historic City Stadium – it's a subtle reminder to the players. Not that they need one.
"It's definitely a privilege," Frelich said. "It can't be taken for granted."
East High School opened at its current location in 1924 and City Stadium was finished the following year. East continued to play its home games at City Stadium throughout the years the Packers played there.
In the fifth meeting of their young rivalry, the Packers beat the Chicago Bears, 14-10, at City Stadium on Sept. 27, 1925. The game drew a crowd of 5,389 fans. Two months later on the same field, East downed its city rival West (Green Bay, Wis.)
, 9-3. The game drew an estimated 7,000 spectators.
The East-West series has always been intense. The teams squared off this season for the 109th time with East leading 57-49-3.
Packers founder Curly Lambeau attended East and was a star on the 1916 team that beat West. He actually coached East and the Packers at the same time from 1919-21.
Since the Packers left in 1957, East has tried to keep the stadium similar.
"We were back in Green Bay a couple years ago and that was one of the stops we made was the old stadium," said Gregg, who played 14 seasons for the Packers and also coached the team for four years. "It hasn't changed."
Said East Activities Director Tim Flood, "We embrace the past, we embrace the tradition."
In 2008, the field went through some renovations. Now, the only remaining original pieces of the stadium are the field itself and a maintenance shed that used to house Packers equipment.
"We try to bring out our own sense of who we are but keep the tradition and history, because I think that's important," East head coach Brian Nast said. "You've got a historic landmark and no one can take that away."
Before we get to a series of photos from the venue, check out some video highlights of East High during a recent home game:
City Stadium, shown here some time in the late 1930's, packed in the fans.
Photo courtesy of the Green Bay Packers