Team Effort to Defend the Turf

TAYLOR, Pa. -- High school football teams begin the first round of playoffs Friday night and for those teams who play on grass, it's been a long season for their fields.

One team in Lackawanna County came up with an unconventional method to protect their field.

The Riverside Vikings have been playing their home games on a notoriously muddy field. With the wet fall we've had, the grass had had enough.

With another home game scheduled for Friday, it took a team effort to get the field ready.

The Riverside Vikings are ready for the first round of high school football playoffs, but the field at Veterans Memorial Stadium needed some help.

Wednesday night's practice had one objective -- get the grass covered.

"It was different, you know, laughing, seeing guys trying to carry out weights, putting tarps down, the wind blowing everywhere. It was definitely different," said senior Jimmy Brown.

The players had creative approaches for anchoring the plastic pieces now protecting the field. Benches, weights, and kettlebells are keeping it in place, all in anticipation of rain expected before game time Friday night.

Putting together the patchwork field cover was a team effort, too. Part of it was purchased by the school district and parts of it were donated by local businesses.

In all, it took the team and the coaches about four hours to put it all together.

"Right after school, we had our boys down here and our coaches. We put in a big group effort to put in as much as we could before practice. Then afterwards, we had the lights on and the rest of our coaches and a few of our players stayed down here to finish up the field and it was interesting. We had some fun with it," said Riverside football coach Harry Armstrong.

Coach Armstrong says at this point in the season, the field is already mostly mud. The tarp is there to keep the field from getting even more waterlogged.

"If we didn't give all our efforts to keep our field as dry as possible, the conditions, it's really depending on the weather, but even just a little bit of rain on our field, it could make it troublesome. It would lead to a higher likelihood of injury and we wanted to keep it as low as possible," said Armstrong.

The Riverside Vikings host Susquehanna Friday night at 7 p.m. and our Newswatch 16 meteorologists say they will probably see some rain during the game.