Skyview's football team has never stepped onto its home field under the lights. This season, the 27th in school history, that changes.
Due in large part of a grassroots community effort, as well as determination from its school board, Skyview has installed lights onto George DiTirro Stadium in Thornton. Those lights will turn on August 29, a Friday, when the Wolverines open the season against Summit.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
"Playing on Friday nights is going to be awesome," Skyview coach Bill Nelson said on Thursday. "Everybody's excited."
Skyview had been relegated to playing Saturday afternoons ever since the school was founded when the old Mapleton and Highland high schools combined in 1988. Mapleton had lights on its football field, but the new school moved to Highland's campus. That stadium didn't have lights.
So Saturdays became the norm when playing at home for Skyview. Early in the season, that meant dealing with heat. It usually always meant playing in front of sparse crowds.
"Saturday afternoons were wicked," Nelson said. "I love coaching there, the people are good to me. But playing on Saturday afternoon just killed me.
"We are hoping attendance is going to go up," Nelson added. "Even sometimes (entire) visiting team's (crowds) didn't come. A lot of our people didn't come."
The Wolverines have six home dates this season. All games are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Fridays.
"It just puts a different tone on our program," Nelson said. "It's more of a typical high school setting. We're going to try to do some new traditions. Either have a meal or have some kind of session that we didn't normally do."
The school's other teams that use the facility will also benefit from the lights. Notably, soccer games can start later. Those athletes had been leaving classes at 2 or 3 p.m. to prepare for a 4 p.m. start.
"Getting out of school just to play a home soccer game?" Nelson said. "Now we're not going to have to do that."
As part of the agreement to put lights up, the City of Thornton will also have access to the facility.
But on a Friday night in late August, DiTirro stadium will belong to the Wolverines. There's a public Facebook group inviting alumni to attend.
Chris Kemm, Skyview's girls basketball coach and a 1991 alum of the school, is a driving force behind the night.
"The only time we ever pack the stadium is for graduation," Kemm said.
That may soon change. A full house is expected for the opener.
MLB draft picks sign
The MLB's deadline for 2014 draft picks to sign was July 18.
Among those starting professional careers were Freeland and 2014 graduates Brock Burke (Evergreen), Max George (Regis Jesuit) and Jordan Holloway (Ralston Valley).
Freeland has made three starts for the Rockies' Rookie-A affiliate in Grand Junction, but has thrown just nine innings. He has a 1.00 ERA, seven strikeouts and hasn't allowed a walk.
Burke has thrown three innings for Tampa Bay's Rookie-A affiliate, and hasn't allowed a run.
George is with Freeland at Grand Junction and is hitting .303 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 21 games. He hit for the cycle on July 13.
Holloway has yet to play a game.
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