Pirates open on new turf at midnight

Some might call it mad – in fact, the name of the event is Midnight Madness.

But for many football teams across the state, it has become an annual ritual.

That includes the Granbury Pirates football team, which will take the field at a minute after midnight Sunday night, er Monday morning for the first practice of the 2013 season.

“It’s definitely something our kids take pride in,” said Pirate head coach Scotty Pugh, who started Midnight Madness four years ago.

“For our kids and our coaches, our attitude is we don’t want to waste a minute.”

While Midnight Madness is certainly a festive event, Pugh said it is also a real practice.

“Sure, there’s pageantry and excitement, but then we get down to business,” he said.

This year’s version will have an added dose of excitement as it will be the first time the Pirates will be playing on the new artificial turf on Johnny Perkins Field at Pirate Stadium.

“We’re going to be able to get so many more kids out on the field at Pirate Stadium now, and not just football,” said Pugh.

Granbury Athletic Director Dwight Butler said the longevity of the new turf is up to 12 years if properly maintained. He called the turf a “matrix style” that does not get slippery when wet.

With the new turf in place, there is no limit to the times it can be used for football, band, drill team, soccer and many other things, said Butler.

“The ROTC can get on there, even our baseball and softball teams can get on there and hit grounders if their fields are too wet,” said Butler.

A ribbon cutting ceremony conducted by the Granbury Chamber of Commerce will be held on Johnny Perkins Field at Pirate Stadium at 11:15 p.m.. Cutting the ribbon on the field will be student representatives of the teams and organizations that will utilize the field

The Pirates return seven offensive and seven defensive starters from last season’s 7-4 squad that posted the most victories since 1998. Granbury is also going for a fourth consecutive playoff appearance, something that has not happened since the powerhouse teams from 1965-68.

The Pirates featured a talented group of underclassmen last season that included sophomores quarterback Ryan Suitt, receiver Nick Doughty and kicker Jacob Rose, along with juniors defensive back Kevin Hennard, center Garrett King, defensive end Tristen Gilmore and linebacker Dakota Doucet.

Suitt was named the Offensive Newcomer of the Year in District 7-4A. Rose and Hennard were first-team all-district, and Doughty, King, Gilmore and Doucet were second-team.

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