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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
GREENSBORO - The high school football playoffs are a five-week grind for teams that make it to the championship games. A long postseason can be hard on a team's field, too.
Eastern Guilford, Page and Reidsville will be playing their fourth home games of the playoffs Friday night. Page's field, in particular, is showing some wear.
"The problem we have right now is that our field is just worn out," said Rusty Lee, Page's athletics director. "We couldn't get the rye (grass) to come in because of all the use this fall - middle schools playing on it, a lot of home football games, soccer making a playoff run - we just had more use than in the past."
But it wasn't just heavy usage at Page.
"We also have a sprinkler-system issue," Lee said. "It was coming on at random hours. Two weeks ago it came on the day before the game when we didn't want it to, so we basically had to just shut it down. Then it started raining."
Page doesn't have a tarp for its football field, but the playing surface was covered with 14 boxes of polyurethane sheets for part of last week. Before Friday's game against West Forsyth, Lee and his staff had to use three Gators full of sand and 200 pounds of cat litter to soak up the moisture near midfield.
"The rain we got Sunday night didn't do a whole lot to it, just a couple of muddy spots," Lee said. "Then we had football parents and staff members come out and help us cover it a second time Monday night. ... We hope when it stops raining we can get out there with the blowers and blow all the water to the sidelines, then take off the covering. We'll have a decision to make about whether we want to cover it again Thursday and take it off Friday."
Lee gave his football coach, Kevin Gillespie, the option of looking for another field or postponing this week's game to Saturday.
"Kevin and I came to the decision that, rain or shine, mud or dry, we were playing here Friday night," Lee said. "I gave him that option. ... We'll do whatever we have to do to make it happen."
The field conditions are better at Eastern Guilford, where the Wildcats face Jacksonville on Friday night, and at Reidsville, where the Rams play Lincolnton.
"Our field is holding up pretty well," said Randall Hackett, Eastern Guilford's AD. "It could be a mess after Friday night. It was a little damp last Friday night, but it held up. Of course, it's got some wear spots on it, but we threw some rye (seed) on it."
Reidsville's field has gotten a lot of use late in the season through the years.
"Fortunately for us, with the dry fall we had, we didn't have a game where it was wet during the season," Teague said. "So, prior to the playoffs, it was probably in as good a shape as it's ever been for the postseason."
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