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Prep Football: Foxes’ news stadium gets go-ahead for début
FACILITY BECOMES FIRST IN FREDERICKSBURG AREA WITH ARTIFICIAL TURF
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By ADAM HIMMELSBACH
King George athletic director Alex Fisher has jokingly told co-workers that he should wear a sign around his neck telling people he is not sure when the Foxes’ new stadium will be ready.
The gleaming, 2,000-seat, $3.6 million facility, with its state-of-the-art artificial turf field, was scheduled to be ready for King George’s season-opener against Washington & Lee in August.
But it was not ready, and the Foxes used that game as a chance to say goodbye to their old field, “The Pit.”
The next target date for the grand opening was Friday’s game against Courtland.
Even this week, however, there were anxious moments, as one inspector after another passed through the gates.
Late Thursday afternoon, Fisher finally received word that the stadium was ready. It will open for King George’s Battlefield District game against Courtland tonight at 7.
“The kids have been champing at the bit to get out on that field,” Fisher said. “It’s going to be nice to see them finally get a chance to run around on it, and it’s going to bring such a neat atmosphere to the community.”
King George football coach Jeff Smith said his players have been asking him about the status of the stadium every day.
They wanted to know when they would be able to practice on it, when they would be able to play on it, and when they would be able to tell all their friends.
“It’s gonna be like Christmas morning, opening that package up,” Smith said. “It’s something we’ve been wanting for a long time, and now the hopes have become a reality. It’s going to open.”
The stadium will feature the area’s only artificial turf high school field, and Fisher said the material is more advanced than the surfaces used in some college and pro stadiums.
Previously, some area high school teams had scheduled games at Liberty High School in Bealeton—which also has artificial turf—when constant rains turn grass to slop.
Now, King George will be able to offer a similar mud-free location.
Fisher said he has been inundated with requests to use the field.
He has already been contacted by a semipro football team, a youth football league, a parks and rec soccer league and several Christian youth sports groups.
He has also received calls from school board members in surrounding counties inquiring about the logistics of installing an artificial turf field.
“It’s been nice to know you have such a great facility that it’s looked at around the area as something prestigious,” Fisher said. “To have a facility like this and not share it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Of course, the stadium’s primary purpose will always be King George football.
Smith said his team plans to practice at the stadium several times a week so it becomes accustomed to the pace of the surface.
He said it will favor fast play, and that could be a concern when a quick team like James Monroe visits.
But he thinks that edge will be negated by King George’s familiarity with the setup.
“It’s just like having your own gym in basketball you’re used to shooting on,” Smith said.
The buzz for Friday’s game has increased due to the fact that King George is off to a 3–0 start.
Fisher said students have already talked to him about setting up their own section, and talk in the school’s halls is once again focused on Foxes football.
“This first game,” Smith said, “is going to be a dream come true.”
Adam Himmelsbach: 540/374-5442