Archive for Wednesday, August 7, 2002

BLHS football field surviving extreme heat

August 7, 2002

It seems as if Mother Nature doesn't like football or at least not Tonganoxie High School football.

Recent dry weather has dampened the spirits of those who take care of THS's Beatty Field, and a city restriction banning outside watering hasn't helped.

About three weeks ago new grass was planted at Beatty Field, but extremely hot temperatures and little rainfall have created dry and damaged terrain.

THS football coach Mark Elston said the dry weather is a major concern for the high school and if rain does not fall or a solution is not found the Chieftains could enter the 2002 season playing on dangerous turf.

Basehor and Bonner Springs have not been hit as hard by the dry weather, primarily because neither city has been forced to institute a no-watering restriction. But Basehor-Linwood High School athletic director Joe Keeler said the lack of rainfall is something to worry about.

"Obviously the lack of moisture is always a concern," Keeler said. "But our maintenance crews have done an excellent job watering our facilities and especially our varsity football field."

BLHS's varsity field has a sprinkler system that routinely keeps it watered, but school crews have doubled their efforts to make sure the field stays in good shape.

"Our field's still in excellent shape and we have a plan to keep it that way," Keeler said. "Rain's always better than watering, but sometimes you can't choose what you get."

At Bonner Springs High School, the Braves can sympathize with both Tonganoxie and Basehor-Linwood.

Like BLHS, Bonner Springs' varsity field is in good shape. It has been kept watered, and the city of Bonner Springs has not limited residents from watering outside. However, like Tonganoxie, BSHS is trying to keep new grass on its practice field from drying out.

"The truth of the matter is when you have 90- to 100-degree weather for 30 straight days you're not going to get any growth," Bonner Springs-Edwardsville School District superintendent Bob Van Maren said. "We've actually gone to less watering on the main field so we can keep the crowns alive and don't burn out the grass."

Van Maren said Bonner Springs' main field is at about 80 percent, which means it is in good enough shape to play on, but more water wouldn't hurt.

In the offseason, the district put down 80 loads of sand on BSHS's main field. The sand was laid to make the field softer, but Van Maren said it has also kept the field from drying out in the extreme heat.

"No matter what, it's going to be better than it was before," Van Maren said. "And if we get two weeks of good weather, that will allow us to do some things to get it to 100 percent by the first game."

Included among those things are regular watering and bringing in a specialist from a golf course to work with conditioning, fertilizing and watering the fields.

Dick Drennon, supervisor of the BLHS building and grounds, said Basehor-Linwood also brought in sand to soften and protect the grass. He also said they spent several hours pumping fertilizer into the soil and conditioning the grass.

Bonner Springs opens its home season Friday, Sept. 13, against Tonganoxie. Basehor-Linwood plays at home during the opening week of the season Friday, Sept. 6, against Paola.

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