It wasn’t a surprise to hear Bob Metz and Connor Bishop say Citrus High School football is the best part of the school’s homecoming week.
Because it runs through their blood.
“There is no homecoming without a football game,” 17-year-old Bishop said Thursday afternoon, as the high school starting quarterback and senior on homecoming court got ready at the Inverness campus for the school’s annual homecoming parade.
But before Bishop hopped on the back of a green Mustang muscle car that was part of the procession, he walked up to Metz, the parade’s grand marshal, to give his great-grandfather and fellow Hurricane a hug.
“I can’t say how proud I am,” said 89-year-old Metz, who graduated from CHS in 1947, after playing two seasons as a left end for the football team.
Metz also played for the school’s baseball team, like Bishop is doing now.
Crowds of people stood alongside Highland Boulevard to watch Citrus High School’s proud band, spirited cheerleaders and 22-vehicle caravan of themed floats and sports cars carrying the five homecoming court couples.
At the lead was Metz, waving to spectators from a royal blue Corvette, and just a few cars behind him was Bishop.
“It’s a huge honor,” Bishop said about being in the parade with his relative. “He’s my biggest fan in the stands; I know he’s always there, and he’s never missed a game.”
Metz said Thursday’s parade was his third as a participant, his second as grand marshal but the first one he got to be in with his great-grandson.
“This is special,” he said. “This is special.”
Bishop said he’s played football since he was in third grade, in youth leagues. His dad, Jonny Bishop, who’s also an assistant superintendent with the Citrus County School District, and two of his uncles played football with Citrus High School.
“A lot of football players in my family played here,” Bishop said, adding it was just natural to follow in their footsteps.
Bishop said he plans to go to college to be a chiropractor.
Metz said he and his wife Betty, who also played basketball for CHS, will keep watching and cheering Bishop on as he pushes for an undefeated season.
Citrus was 7-0 before its homecoming game on Friday against the Hernando High School Leopards, then 3-4.
“I just hope they go all the way,” Metz said. “We didn’t have a very good team; there was only 11 people on the home team.”
Bishop said it would mean a lot to win Friday’s game.
“It would be a huge honor to be a winner at homecoming on senior year," he said. "It be would awesome for the crowd and it would be awesome for the community if we won that game.
“Have fun, enjoy it, go the dance, have fun afterwards," Bishop added. "Everybody stay safe, be smart and have a good time."