WILBRAHAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A local high school football team kicked off its first game on a brand new field tonight.
The Minnechaug Falcons started their football season with a clean slate, a fresh new field.
For nearly nine years, the school’s Booster Club, volunteer parents, and school faculty have worked on planning, envisioning, and investing in the 2019 project to replace their old grass field with turf.
It's now available for all students to use.
“The kids are so excited about it. It’s something new and different. We don’t have to worry about getting our shoes muddy. We can use it during P.E. class. People can come here and utilize it when it’s free on the weekends and train for college," Physical Education teacher and Head Field Hockey Coach Eileen Jenkins tells us.
Falcons senior quarterback Anthony Izzo says he can really tell a difference playing on this new field.
“We have, like, a fast-pace offense and we love having the turf, because it helps us move even faster on the field, where, regular grass, it slows us down a bit, especially when it’s not, like, a pristine playing surface, like the turf," says Izzo.
Athletic Director Mike Roy tells Western Mass News not only do the players get to experience this, but the entire Wilbraham community as well.
“People have driven by here every night, all night, stopping, looking at the field. Some walking on it, which is what we want this campus to be," stated Roy.
And with Izzo heading into his final football season, the timing couldn't be more perfect.
“It’s awesome to be the first team playing on this turf, like, having all the alumni come back and seeing this amazing field. It’s just great to be the first team to be on the turf and put on a nice display for everyone who comes out to see the turf," continued Izzo.
And even though the Minnechaug Falcons already got a taste of what it feels like to play on the field for the very first time, they still have a whole other part coming their way,
“The second phase of this project is the bleacher renovation, new press box, new concession stand. The concession stand does not have running water, so we want to really neaten up that area and make it where people want to come, want to be here, want to hang out for games," explained Roy.
So far, the Falcons have raised nearly $550,000.
The goal for part two is to reach $800,000.
Roy says it’s going to be a challenge, but with the right teammates, it can get done.
“We have people who have committed and just haven’t followed through on the commitments, but they will, so we feel very confident that the money is going to come in, but we still need the communities help too and we’re asking for that, and if people can dig in and help us we would really appreciate it," added Roy.
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