Clay Concessions Grill Up
and Dish Out Pure Magic
YOU DON’T COME TO A CLAY HOME FOOTBALL GAME
without trying out the Devil Dog. It’s a Nettles brand sausage
from Lake City that is shipped in especially for Friday nights…
and Clay puts a little bit of Devil in it, as in Blue Devils—the
This morsel of perfection is brought to you by the experienced concessions crew in Green Cove Springs. The Beatles
had John, Paul, Ringo and George… you know the drill. Clay
concessions has Alan and the boys on the grill and Connie
and Phil taking orders and making change in the booth.
That’s Alan Gillies and Connie and Phil Wainwright for you all
scoring at home.
The entire concessions crew is—you guessed—made up of
non-paid volunteers who help bring in as much as $5,000 on
a good Friday night. Multiply that by five regular season home
games and possible postseason home games, and you can
see this is a very important operation for the financial health
of any high school athletic program.
People come from far and wide for one of Alan and the
boys’ Devil Dogs.
“We have so many people who ask for them that we start
having them ready as early as 6 o’clock on a game night,” Connie said. “It’s a sausage we used to drive all the way to Lake
City for that has peppers and onions on it. That’s our specialty.
It’s very popular. Some people come just to have that.”
A TALEN TED PHOTOGRA-
pher isn’t just somebody who
snaps a picture—he or she
also preserves the moment,
recording history. The story
is told in color, capturing the
emotion of the scene.
At Braddock High School
in Miami, Enrique Muñoz
performs a lot of duties within
the program. He has taken
on the unofficial role of team
photographer, as well as previously holding the position of
Booster Club President.
“Despite being busy with
his own business, Mr. Muñoz
and his family never miss our
games,” said Braddock head
coach Juan Torres. “They
went above and beyond their
role as team parents. They
are a class act and we are
truly blessed to have them in
our Bulldogs family.”
Connie’s philosophy, as well as that of her “co-workers” is
that they wanted to take the outside pressure off the coaching staff—“Just let them focus on coaching,” she said. The
way they see it, the coaches are already doing enough—and
of course usually the volunteers begin working when their
own sons come through the program. The really great ones
continue to help for many years because they fall in love with
the atmosphere and volunteering—and that’s the story at Clay.
“Our motto is we want to make a difference and it’s well
worth it for us,” Connie said. “Whether it’s just selling a hot
dog and a Gatorade or whatever helps. We just want the
current parents to be able to go in and enjoy watching their
kids playing in the game.”
The job comes with some drawbacks. The sight line to the
game is partial at best. Not only are these volunteers pretty
busy during the game, they can’t really see the field without
sprinting to a side window just big enough for a couple of
heads to poke out. To see what everybody is screaming
about, of course.
That’s OK, they love what they do. They love seeing those
1960s Clay graduates who still come every week. It’s about
the pickle juice they save for the player who is cramping at
halftime. They love the guy who always orders a Snickers and
a drink. They love the guy who just has to have his hot dog
seared a little bit extra.
“The usual?” the crew asks the regulars… “Of course!”
comes the reply.
This is what FNF is all about.
THE FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
experience can be like a festival if
you’re in certain locales. The food is
cooking on the grill, the band is rocking, you see old friends. Hey, Norman
Rockwell is smiling somewhere, right?
Let’s face it, grilling is a blast.
So is making music and rooting for
the kids. There are other necessary
tasks though that may not be quite
as fun as volunteering to sear some
ground beef or hold the down-and-distance chains to get an up-close
view of the game.
Jewell Fuller is one of those unsung
heroes of the Escambia High School
football program in Pensacola—home
of Gator great (in two ways) Emmitt
Smith. Needless to say, she is one
of those kinds of people who helps
hold the team program together in
ways not seen on Friday nights—but
Friday nights wouldn’t happen without
people like her.
“We have a lady, Jewell Fuller, who
has been with the program for about
20 years as the treasurer for the
quarterback club,” Escambia head
coach Mike Davis said. “Her son
graduated in about 2002 and she is
still with the club and she is on her
fifth head coach.”
That’s right—her children aren’t in
school anymore, but she’s still one of
those moms pitching in to help.
“They keep voting me in so I just
keep staying,” Fuller said. “Every
year it changes some, but it’s a good
program and there are a lot of good
coaches. I got started when my sons
played varsity. I love my kids and
wanted to be near them.”
Fuller was a natural fit to run the
books because of her business
background of 30 years with Hertz.
Keeping track of things for tax season
and keeping the quarterly records was
no big deal to her so she assumed
that role. Somebody has to do these
things efficiently or even an athletic
program or football program can get
While her children no longer play
football, her son John Fuller is a coach
with the program—so in a different
way, she still gets to be around her
kids. It’s just now he’s an adult. He
brings lunch to mom whenever he
can—as she works in the school
clinic these days. She’s a mainstay at
Escambia High School in a lot of ways.
“I’ll do anything to help out,” Jewell
said. “I think sometimes people don’t
realize all that is involved. Getting the
food each week and all. I just want to
take care of them. I’d do anything.”
Every Team Needs a ‘Team Mom” Like
Western High School’s
EVERY YOUNG MAN SHOULD THANK HIS LUCKY STARS FOR HIS
mom—and every athletic team that has an unofficial “Team Mom”
should thank her collectively.
Just like at home, she works her tail off—cooking, cleaning, mending
clothing and egos. She cleans up the messes only moms are willing to
dive into, and she does all of it out of love for her boys.
That is Ivonne Rodriguez in a nutshell—when it comes to Western H.S.
in Davie. She’s everything and more to the Wildcats.
“She does everything from cook for the players to fundraising,” said
Western head coach Adam Ratkevich. “She brings food for the team on
Saturday mornings after wins.
“She’s always there for the program and anyone in it.”
South Sumter Fan Fred Dietz Has
the Giving Spirit All Year Long
FRED DIETZ ISN’T REALLY JUST A ‘SOUTH SUMTER FOOTBALL’
kind of guy when it comes to volunteering, pitching in. He’s more like a
Bushnell guy—the home town of South Sumter HS. Or really, he’s more
like a Sumter County guy.
Dietz believes in community. Over the years, he kept the torch lit on
a local Christmas event that puts together 500 bags of small toys and
treats for kids. He was a big part of organizing the fundraising for that,
helping contacting several businesses in the community to donate.
If there is a good cause, he’ll pitch in and think nothing of it. He
extends that same kind of effort—even in his 80s—to the South
Sumter athletics program. When it comes to Raiders football, he’s also
a jack-of-all-trades. The only problem is, for years it was tough to pin
him down because he’s so busy.
“He has done it all,” said first-year South Sumter head coach Ty
Lawrence. “Booster club president, announcer, concession stands, he
picks up the food. He’s a great man.”
Star is Part Treasurer, Part
Purchaser, Part Mom