Bulldogs ready to make history on new field

Published 1:49 am Friday, August 31, 2018

History will be made tonight when the Andalusia High School Bulldog football team hosts the first home game of the season in the almost-completely renovated stadium that features a new video scoreboard, new seating, and artificial turf.

“With these improvements, we’ve set up the standards for the next 30 to 40 years in Andalusia,” Mayor Earl Johnson said. “It’s is awfully historic.”

Head coach Trent Taylor said that the artificial turf won’t affect the way the Bulldogs play football.

“The players have been practicing on this stuff all summer,” Taylor said. “It is nothing new to our team.”

Several people pointed out that while having artificial turf on the home field is new, the Bulldogs are no strangers to the playing surface.

“We played on it two years ago when we played Leeds in the playoffs,” Taylor said. “Then in 1974 we played on it when we played at Legion Field. This is nothing new.”

The only problem that comes with artificial turf is the heat, Taylor said.

“It gets hot on that turf and that is the only problem,” Taylor said. “But our conditioning is great and I’m not worried about that either.”

AHS’s athletic trainer Monday Willis said that there have been no actual studies that link more injuries or fewer injuries to playing on artificial turf.

“In the time that I have been an athletic trainer I have never had to treat an injury due to the turf,” Willis said. “There are no studies or proof to show it either. The only big thing would be the heat because it is 10 degrees hotter on the turf than grass.”

Senior outside linebacker Gill Morgan said that playing on the turf and the new stadium feels like playing in a whole new place.

“We are held at a higher standard now with the new stadium,” Morgan said. “Now with everything done it just feels like we are playing in a new place, but with a new stadium, the city expects us to do a lot and it comes with a lot of pressure.”

Morgan said that being on the artificial turf all summer has helped and that the turf has not slowed him down.

“Nothing really changes much on the turf,” Morgan said. “Just the heat is unbearable, but I drink plenty of water and take breaks to make sure that I take care of my body.”

Andalusia Bulldog alum Will Clark, who now plays football for Vanderbilt University, never got the chance to play on his alma mater’s turf, but in Tennessee he has been running hard on it.

“I honestly like playing on turf better,” Clark said. “It takes some getting use to, the turf is harder and not as forgiving on falls and scrapes as grass, but I feel faster on turf. It also cuts down on injuries coming from a muddy ground, so I am definitely a fan of it.”

Clark doen’t think that the turf will be a big factor for any of Andalusia’s opponents who only practice on grass, but any change can cause discomfort.

“I don’t think it will be a big factor in the outcome of games, but any change can cause some discomfort,” Clark said. “So I can see where a team that’s never played on turf would have trouble adjusting in the first quarter or two.”

The Bulldogs have already played on an opponent’s artificial turf in Saraland last week. No other team on the Bulldogs schedule has artificial turf.

The Bulldogs face Trinity tonight at 7. Tickets are $7 at the gate, or $6 in advance.