When locals talk about college football in the High Country, they talk about the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
App State has been playing championship football in Boone since 1928. More recently, the Mountaineers won the Sun Belt Conference championship game, in Boone, and rolled to a New Orleans Bowl victory in December.
The Mountaineers enter a new era of football led by new head coach Eliah Drinkwitz. The Mountaineers return 10 starters on offense and seven on defense, so expectations are high that the Mountaineers can reach their fifth bowl game.
Tickets to regular season games are not impossible to get, but the Mountaineers averaged 25,787 fans at Kidd Brewer Stadium (nicknamed “The Rock”), a 30,000-seat stadium located on the Appalachian State campus. The Mountaineers led the Sun Belt Conference in average, attended by 1,331 fans per game over second-place Troy.
To get single-game tickets, fans can start by calling (828) 262-2079 or go online to www.appstate.com. Ticket prices range from $30-$40 in seating for both Appalachian State fans and for visiting team fans.
“We’ll have temporary ticket booths here for game day,” Appalachian State Athletic Director Doug Gillin said. “We’ll also have opportunities during the week of the game to get tickets and that’s what I would recommend. Just call the Holmes Center ticket office, but we’ll have temporary ticket booth like we have before on game day.”
The Mountaineers open their season at home at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 against former rival East Tennessee State. Appalachian State plays at home against in a nonconference game against Charlotte at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 7.
The university will honor former coach Jerry Moore at the game on Aug. 31. Moore guided the Mountaineers to three Division I-AA/Football Championship Subdivision national championships from 2005-07. He also coached the Mountaineers to their iconic 34-32 upset win over then-ranked fifth Michigan on Sept. 1, 2007.
The former App State athletes to be honored, also on Aug. 31, are DaVon Fowlkes (football, 2000-04, Donald Sims (men’s basketball, 2007-11, Bobby Barbera (men’s tennis, 1963-67) and Jim Whitmer (wrestling, 1963-67).
App State will also hold a “White Out” on Sept. 7 against Charlotte. The Mountaineers will wear white jerseys, pants and helmets against the 49ers and fans will be encouraged to wear white clothing in the stands.
“We did that about four years ago and it was very well received,” Gillin said.
Those are the lone two nonconference home games. Appalachian State also plays three Sun Belt Conference home games, starting on Sept. 28, which is Family Weekend against Coastal Carolina. Gillin said that game is nearly sold out.
App State also hosts its Homecoming Weekend Oct. 19 against Louisiana-Monroe. Arch-rival Georgia Southern invades Kidd Brewer Stadium at 8 p.m. on Halloween night, which will also be Black Thursday. It will be Heroes Day and Senior Day when Texas State plays at App State at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 23.
The Mountaineers, who play in the Sun Belt’s Eastern Division, are hopeful to return to the Sun Belt conference title game, which would be played at Kidd Brewer Stadium if the Mountaineers win their division and have a better conference record than the winner of the Western Division.
Kidd Brewer Stadium itself is going through a transition period. A massive project that involved the demolition of some dormitories and the construction of a parking deck and an outdoor pavilion next to the stadium is under way, so parking may be at a premium.
Most parking lots around the stadium are by permit only. Those who do not have access to permit parking may have to park either in a lot run by a private business or try a lot that is close to a AppalCart bus stop.
“There’s parking all over town,” Gillin said. “People will rent parking. Certainly we have our Yosef donor parking, but there are open lots around town. You’ve just got to find one that is on the AppalCart routes, which are the easiest. Driving in and around the stadium, there are pay lots driving in.”