EARLY — With opening weekend for the 2008 high school football season exactly two months away, the Early Longhorns’ new home is beginning to take shape.
The Longhorns will start playing their games on the high school campus at Early Stadium beginning with the Sept. 12 home opener against the Clyde Bulldogs.
The artificial playing surface was being installed on the Longhorns’ former practice field this week, the asphalt for the track is in place and work on the locker rooms and concession stands is also under way.
“They’ve got the turf down and some of the rubber in it,” said Early athletic director and head football coach Robbie Tindol. “Most of the numbers and hash marks are going (to be sewn) in and they should be finishing that up soon. The track is not complete, they haven’t striped it and the final coating isn’t on it, but they have it down. They also put in some long jump and pole vault pits in the north end, and they are complete except for topping them with track material.”
Tindol acknowledged that not all the enhancements — particularly the “Big Room” indoor practice facility — will be complete by the time of the opening kickoff, but that the games will go on as scheduled with no concerns.
“We’ve had to adjust some things, like the Big Room, and everything is not going to be finished out exactly when the season starts,” Tindol said. “As long as we have a field, a clock and bleachers, we think we can survive. There will be quite a bit of construction still going on throughout the year.”
The next phase of construction project at the new stadium will feature the bleachers from McDonald Field being moved and the installation of the scoreboard. The beginnings of a concrete foundation for the home side bleachers was being prepared earlier this week.
“The bleachers are ready to be moved over,” Tindol said. “The scoreboard is supposed to come in early this next month.”
Though much work is still left to be done over the next 60-plus days, the Longhorn football program is glowing over what the future holds for the facility.
“This is a facility that was needed here at Early and it’s one that is going to be around for a long time,” Tindol said. “That doesn’t mean you are going to play great or anything great will happen, but we have a nicer facility to play in. It is something the kids and the community can be really proud of. It will be one of the top stadiums in the country, especially for 2A.”
Early superintendent Brett Koch was unavailable for comment on the progress of the stadium as he was on vacation this week.
The Bulletin will continue to update the progress of Early Stadium in the coming weeks as the 2008 football season draws closer.