Football turf’s precarious start leads to game’s change of venue
Rain or sleet or snow rarely stops a football game. But Friday, rain played a part in foiling Tonganoxie's plans.
Heavy rains last week left school officials with a decision: Play in what could become a mud pile or move the game to Basehor.
The teams played at Basehor-Linwood where the grass was in much better shape. The Chieftains prevailed, 66-13.
Tonganoxie's turf has struggled since an outdoor water ban this summer forced school officials to stop watering the field. Water was brought in from an outside source during the drought, but the grass, planted earlier in the summer, hasn't excelled in those conditions.
Lawrence High and Lawrence-Free State were in a similar predicament Friday at Haskell Stadium in Lawrence, but the teams played through the mud. Surprisingly, the game was high scoring, as Lawrence won, 42-26. Like Tonganoxie, Haskell had new grass planted during the summer.
But Tonganoxie High School principal Mike Bogart said the field wasn't suitable for play.
"The coaches asked that I come and take a look at it with them," Bogart said. "We amongst us felt like it was not playable in terms of safety first.
"And in terms of tearing up the field further, we haven't had the kind of success we wanted to with the grass growing there."
No admission was charged at the game, which athletics director Brandon Parker said might have generated anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1,000.
But Tonganoxie did not have school on Friday, and Bogart said it was difficult getting everything lined up for Basehor.
"We don't like to take a hit on that, but it was a decision that was made when there was no school," Bogart said.
On Thursday, though, it appears the Chieftains will have their season finale at home. Parker expects sand to be added to the field to absorb any water problems and help with traction.
"Right now it looks like we're going to play here," Parker said. "More than likely I would think that's the game plan.