Mud-Covered Football Field Leaves Team in the Lurch

Andy Berg Headshot

A high school in Missouri is looking for alternate locations to play its home football games in the light of heavy flooding from the Mississippi that has left its football field covered in a thick layer of mud.

Crystal City School District has contacted area communities Jefferson, Herculaneum and Festus about playing home games on their fields. Crystal City’s artificial turf field at J.J. Commerford Stadium has been covered with mud for more than two months. 

Ken Jones, athletic director for Crystal City, told The Leader that renovation work could begin on the field this week. The effort will entail the removal of several inches of mud that currently covers the field, track and parking lot at J.J. Commerford.

Superintendent Steven Barnes said the damage didn’t meet the threshold for federal disaster funding.

“There will be no money from (Federal Emergency Management Agency),” Barnes said on Monday. “That changes things for us. We are taking it slow and being careful because we don’t want to do more damage to the field. 

“We feel like it’s too wet right now to do anything. The mud will be too heavy to move with water. Our plan this week is to do a test area with a Bobcat and move some of the mud. Then we’ll develop a plan for cleanup. Then we have to decide if we’re going to bid that out.” 

Crystal City’s first two games this season were scheduled at home against Chaffee on Aug. 30 and Kelly on Sept. 6. Jones said that because the season is starting two weeks later than usual there’s still a slim chance the school will have the field ready for play.

Jefferson R-7 is hoping it can help in the event that Crystal City can’t get things operational in time for the first home games.

“They are really dealing with some problems with their field. It’s a real mess,” Jefferson R-7 superintendent Clint Johnston said at a recent board meeting. “We want to be a good neighbor and help out if we can.”

Jones was unsure about the cost of the cleanup. On the bright side, the river didn’t leave behind any large debris when it receded, but the concessions were flooded and at one point the water was nearly as deep as the crossbar of the goal posts. 


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