Monday, September 25, 2023

Photo Gallery: York High School vs Tabb High School Military Appreciation Game

YORKTOWN — As York High School faced off against Tabb High School on Sept. 15, the crowd celebrated much more than just a high school football rivalry.

Tabb head coach John Byron has a strong military background and was looking for a way to honor the local military community. He had a dream of hosting a military appreciation game. After looking at the Tabb football schedule, he reached out to York head coach Doug Pereira, who also comes from a strong military background, and the two agreed that their matchup would play host to the game.

As both York County high schools are close to Fort Eustis, Byron couldn’t imagine not having a game that honored that military presence in the Hampton Roads area.

“When I took the job back in March, I knew about the strong military presence that was at Tabb High School. It was really important for me to really let our players and our students at Tabb know how much that our football team appreciated what the military does for us every day. I wanted to just find a way to show that and it dawned on me that a military appreciation game would be a great idea,” Byron said.

Pregame ceremonies included a rendition of the Armed Forces Medley, where all service members were encouraged to stand during their branch song. American flags were handed out to spectators. Members of both schools carried out each military branch’s flag and both high schools represented their JROTC teams with color guard honors.

Football players at Tabb High School also wore Virginia National Guard camouflage-themed uniforms for the game. The 2023 York vs. Tabb matchup also marks the 50th season the two have faced off.

During the pregame ceremony, an American flag was presented that was flown at Ground Zero and again in Iraq, where it was flown next to the spot where the military captured Saddam Hussein in 2003.

“About 80% of our team has family members who are either active duty or retired military. This game has a major impact and meaning for our players. It means so much to our community because of the military presence being one of the largest in the country. It’s a great opportunity for us to show our community and our families just how important the military is to us,” Byron said.

For Byron, he hopes that the military appreciation game will become an annual event when Tabb plays York each year.

“This was just an idea, but this took several people in our school and people outside of our school in order to make this happen. I’m just excited that not only is Tabb High School getting to participate in this, but York High School as well. This collaboration with both of us, even though there is a football game going on, there is something much more important at play here and that’s the opportunity for us to show our appreciation to the men and women that sacrifice so that we can have the freedoms that we have today,” Byron said.

FINAL: Tabb 43, York 0

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