Albion celebrates new turf football field in home-opener

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 September 2023 at 11:52 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The bleachers for Albion’s side were near capacity for the debut of Albion’s new turf football field under the lights at Spierdowis Field on Friday night. Albion battled the Roy-Hart-Barker team and the Purple Eagles won the game, 36-14.

The ribbon-cutting included the varsity team sprinting through a ribbon held by Wayne Wadhams, president of the Board of Education. The team was led on the field by Blake Preston(2) and Auston Johnson (4).

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion coaches, district leaders, Board of Education members and representatives from the construction and design companies also were on the field for the ribbon cutting.

District Superintendent Mickey Edwards, a 1985 Albion graduate, played defensive back for the varsity teams in 1983 and ’84. The ’83 team won Sectionals and played at Rich Stadium.

Edwards said the turf field allows the team to practice on it, and not just be used for games. The players can better familiarize themselves with the lines and hash tags on the field.

“We don’t have to worry about the rain and the mud,” Edwards said.

When that happened in a game, the grass field was often torn up, and took a lot of work and expense to get back up to par.

“I’m excited for our kids to play on a field like they play on in Sectionals,” Edwards said. “It will be the same for our soccer and softball teams.”

Contractors are working to bring turf to those fields. If the weather allows, the softball field could be ready for the spring season. Soccer will be able to play on the new field in the fall 2023.

Albion coaches, District Superintendent Mickey Edwards (second from left), contractors and the Board of Education check out the soft new turf on the field.

Kirk Narburgh, CEO & managing partner at King & King Architects, worked on the design of the field and many of the recent Albion school construction projects. Narburgh is a 1982 Albion graduate and also played football for the Purple Eagles.

He said the turf field is nearly 100 percent maintenance field. The turf should last 12 to 15 years. It doesn’t need to be mowed, fertilized or have fresh paint for the lines.

“It gives you more play-ability,” Narburgh said. “You can get on it sooner in the spring. With the grass field you couldn’t get on it after it rained.”

Narburgh said the baseball team could practice on the field in the spring and get outside more in getting ready for its season.

The district had been considering a turf field for about 25 years, Narburgh said.

Air Raising Events added balloons for the festive game, including this décor in one of the end zone corners.

The Albion district welcomed representatives from the contractors that worked on the field, including Diehl Development, sitework; Blackmon/Farrell, electrical; Chenango Contracting, turf installers; and the Campus Construction Management Group.

Players from the Roy-Hart/Barker team are lined up in the Albion end zone after the national anthem.

Sarah Dumrese, great-granddaughter of Michael Spierdowis, was part of the ceremonial coin flip with her sons, Isaac and Ezra, and her nephew, Ben Allen. All three are the great-great-grandsons of Spierdowis.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – The Spierdowis great-great-grandkids were part of the ceremonial coin flip just before the game.

Albion students dressed up neon construction outfits and had fun in the “De-Construction Zone.” The turf field is part of a major construction project throughout the school district.

Cheerleaders support the team during the season home-opener. They are standing in a spot where a new track will soon be installed.