Skyview senior Joe Herrera says he’s been hitting the tackling sleds a little harder and running a little faster in preparation for the most important game of his life.
This isn’t the playoffs he’s working so hard for, just Friday night relevance.
A couple weeks from now, Skyview’s football program will take a giant step forward in sports status when it hosts its first ever night game, thanks to the newly installed lights at Ditirro Stadium.
The team — which combines athletes from all of the schools in the Mapleton Public School District — will kick off the season and turn on the lights for the first time against Summit on Friday night, Aug. 29.
“I feel like I have been practicing harder for this one game,” said Herrera, a wide receiver and defensive back, who attends the Mapleton Expeditionary School of Arts. “Hopefully this means we’ll get more people out in the stands supporting Wolverine Football.”
The lights should be added incentive for a Wolverines team that played all of their home games on Saturday mornings and afternoons, and ended the season with a lowly 1-9 record.
Despite it though, some, like senior lineman Jacob Finning, think the new additions to their home field could make for a different kind of story in 2014.
“We’re all so excited. It’s going to be a big turnaround for this school. And, not playing in the heat is going to be nice. It will be amazing,” Finning said. “We’re looking solid. We have so much commitment from our team. The younger guys are excited about the lights, but for the older guys who have been playing for a while, a real Friday Night Lights game is going to make such a difference.”
The lighting system was constructed by Musco’s Light Structure Green. It includes two 90-foot steel poles, a 1,500 watt luminary on each light and an energy saving of more than 50 percent over standard lighting.
The Skyview football program is hoping for 2,000 people in attendance to help turn on the lights for the first time on Aug. 29 — a trend Brian Barringer, the team’s defensive coordinator, and former 2004 graduate from the Skyview football program, hopes will catch on.
“It’s something we never got to experience. We played during the day to small crowds because everyone was at home watching college football,” he said. “Friday night football is for high schools. It’s going to help us continue to bring the community together to support Mapleton’s kids.”
Per district officials, the lights will turn on at 6:45 p.m. before kickoff at 7 p.m. on Aug. 29.