July 26—GRAND HAVEN TWP. – Injury prevention motivated the Grand Haven School Board to approve new grass pitches at Grand Haven High School in early 2020.
Now, following the installation of new turf at Gene Rothi Field ahead of the 2020-2021 school year, the Grand Haven football field will receive the same treatment over the coming month, just in time for the upcoming sports season. ‘fall.
The turf patches haven’t arrived at GHHS yet, which has Sporting Director Scott Robertson a bit concerned. However, he is confident things will be done in time for football trials in early August before training starts on the 9th.
This year, all fall sports will start at the same time – a change from years past, where football would get an extra pair of days up front.
“It was all part of the 10-year bond plan,” Robertson said. “It was planned from the start, we just couldn’t do it last year obviously with the football pitch also being built.”
For the past two weeks, the bottom layer of stone has been all that’s left on the Buccaneers football field, pushing youth camps to nearby grass fields behind the school building. Crews weren’t on site Monday morning, but further updates to the gymnasium bleachers were underway. These bleachers have not been updated since the high school was built in 1999.
“Doing it next made sense,” Robertson said. “It’s a little worrying that the turf isn’t there yet, but they know the deadline. Part of that is just being patient on our end.”
The football field turf was long overdue for an update, according to Rob Saurbaugh, assistant coach for the Buccaneers college football team.
“I remember hosting districts in 2018 and one of the penalty spots was a mess,” Saurbaugh said. “We had to take some on the football pitch, and that almost made it worse. They were from different heights. We’re grateful to have him now.”
The area to be covered is smaller than the space of the football field next door, but it should still take a few weeks to complete the process, which could create a time crunch as the season approaches.
For now, the Bucs soccer program practices on the grassy fields just steps away. The first games scheduled for the new surface will have a local element, as Grand Haven opens its season against rivals Spring Lake on Friday, August 20. The Lakers will face East Grand Rapids earlier in the week.
You can email Kyle at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @KyleTurkGHT.