Players praise new artificial turf


WORKING ON TIMING: Granbury Pirate quarterback Ryan Suitt (with ball) works with running backs on handoffs during Midnight Madness, the first practice of the season, early (very early) Monday morning.

They were like kids on Christmas morning.

Except it was Aug. 12 and shortly after midnight.

Nonetheless, more than 100 Granbury Pirate football players participating in the fifth annual Midnight Madness were thrilled to be practicing on a new synthetic turf.

The field, said to have cost almost $1 million, was installed during the summer in Pirate Stadium. It’s a state-of-the-art surface.

“It’s really nice, fantastic, actually,” said senior receiver Rylan Hill. “It’s soft, and you can run on it without sliding a lot. You sink in it just enough that you can cut well.”

Fellow senior receiver John Geis also gave the new surface high praise for similar reasons.

“You definitely plant your feet in it,” said Geis, adding, “I love it that we’re not the only school (in district) with real grass now.”

The new turf is designed so as not to leave skin burns when a player slides. Also, with sand and rubber beneath the turf, the give when a player hits it is greater, thus resulting in less chance for a concussion.

But mostly, the players were just thinking how cool it looked – although they were happy to hear about the no-burn part.

“I think it’s freaking amazing,” said junior defensive end Alex Balboa. “The big Texas in the middle (which also features a Granbury logo) is so cool.

“And running on this feels good.”

There were some who said they will miss the natural grass, however.

“I think it gave us a little advantage being one of the only fields in the Metroplex that was real,” said senior linebacker Dakota Doucet. “This is nice, and I believe in the long run it will save lots of money. But I do miss the old field.

“This is really nice, though.”

Even head coach Scotty Pugh holds a little sentiment for the old field, but he’s quite happy to have the new surface for this season.

“I love the smell and feel of natural grass, but the fact of the matter is last year we practiced here on our first night and then we went to the practice field,” said Pugh. “We can practice here all the time now, and I think it pays to practice where you play. The only way to keep natural grass nice is to keep people off.

“Everything about this is exciting, and it’s going to benefit a lot of kids, not just football.”

The Pirates will play their first game on the new turf Friday, Sept. 6 against Fort Worth North Side. It’s the second game of the regular season. They also have home games against Fort Worth Wyatt (homecoming) Oct. 4, FW Southwest Oct. 18 and FW Arlington Heights Nov. 8.

The Pirates open the season Aug. 29 at Wichita Falls High School (Memorial Stadium), the first of six road games. They also travel for a scrimmage in Stephenville Aug. 23.

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