Crowds swelled to more than 30,000 on many occasions, especially when Miami Senior High hosted Coral Gables or Miami Edison during the 1950s and ’60s. Over the years, diminishing crowds and increasing costs removed some of the luster from high school games in the bowl. Fewer and fewer games were played in the stadium, and earlier this decade they stopped altogether.
In the early ’50s, before the Miami High-Coral Gables game took center stage in Dade County, the Miami High-Edison Thanksgiving Day matchup was the Game of the Year in Dade. At the time, there was no state playoff system. Perhaps the greatest game played between the two rivals happened on Thanksgiving Day of 1952. Before a crowd of 39,996, the third largest to see a high school game in the Orange Bowl, Edison defeated Miami High 21-7. It was the first time the Red Raiders had defeated the Stingarees in 27 games. One of the goal posts was tore down by the crazed fans and carried back to the school, where it stayed for many years.
Overall, from 1951-64, the Miami High and Coral Gables games drew 183,469 fans, with eight crowds of more than 10,000, including the 28,360 who showed up in 1964. In 1965 a crowd of 47,554, the largest to witness a high school football game, saw the Stingarees end the Cavaliers’ 28-game winning streak 14-7.
Brockton High (Mass.), 20 miles south of Boston, was probably one of the most celebrated teams from out of the state to play in the Orange Bowl. Brockton, which begins its 101st year of football this season, defeated Edison 35-7 in 1948 and returned in 1960 to play Miami Senior.
The Boxers entered the game undefeated and led 13-0 at the half. The Stingarees rallied to a 14-13 victory, handing coach Chet Millett his first loss in three years.
“Most of our guys played both ways and when it became crunch time they beat us,” said Bockton Atheltic Director Tom Pileski, who was a senior on the 1960 team. “Miami High was ahead of the times. They were very talented and wore us down.”
Everett High (Mass.) was the last team from the Boston area to play in the Orange Bowl.