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Notebook: Skyview preparing for its first night football game

(Pam Wagner)

Skyview's George DiTirro Stadium. (Pam Wagner)

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."

(Pam Wagner)

(Pam Wagner)

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

Ralston Valley senior pitcher Jordan Holloway fires a pitch during the early innings Thursday at Frank DeAngelis Field at Columbine High School. (Dennis Pleuss)

Ralston Valley graduate Jordan Holloway. (Dennis Pleuss)

The MLB's deadline for 2014 draft picks to sign was July 18.

Colorado had 23 products picked this year, including Kyle Freeland at No. 8 overall; 14 ended up signing.

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.

Short stuff

  • MaxPreps recently ranked the 20 "most dominant" football programs in Colorado since 2004. The top three are not exactly a surprise: Mullen, Valor Christian and Columbine. Those three schools have won all but two Class 5A titles since 2004.
  • Earlier this month, we wrote about the Nate Ekhoff Kicking Camp. Campers got an awesome surprise when Broncos kicker Matt Prater showed up as a counselor. "Matt worked with the kickers for over four hours and never left the turf," Marshall Ekhoff wrote in an email.
  • Jefferson Academy's Jennifer Kupcho, the reigning Class 4A girls golf champion, lost during the match play portion of the U.S. Girls Junior Golf Championship in Flagstaff, Ariz. this week. Kupcho did finish in a tie for eighth at 1-under during the two-day stroke play portion, and was the highest Colorado finisher. Dakota Ridge's Gillian Vance (+12), Regis Jesuit's Jaclyn Murray (+21), Dakota Ridge's Sydney Merchant (+22) and Skyline's Erin Sargent (+27) also took part in the stroke play event, but missed the cut for match play.
  • Eaglecrest's Jordyn Poulter and Lewis-Palmer's Alexa Smith both won a gold medal while competing for the United States at the Under-20 NORCEA Continental Championship, an international volleyball tournament.
  • The inter-Colorado Springs coaching swaps continued when boys basketball coach Jarris Krapcha moved from Mitchell to Doherty last week.
  • Erie was hit hard by flooding last season. The school's football field recently underwent a turf replacement to repair damage from the water.
  • Check out the new center-court logo for Liberty's basketball teams.
  • New Denver Bronco DeMarcus Ware helped Doherty's football team during its fundraiser.
  • Former Columbine athletic director Ed Woytek will remain in his advisory role with Valor Christian this season.
  • Front Range Christian and Jim Elliot will co-op in football for the 2014-15 school year.
  • Coveted 2016 big man De'Ron Davis of Overland added an offer from Oregon, according to his club team. Among his offers: Arizona, Indiana, UCLA and Wake Forest.
  • Valor Christian graduate Alex Kozan was a Freshman All-SEC pick as a redshirt freshman at Auburn last season. A guard, he's now landed on the Outland Trophy watch list, given annually to college football's top interior lineman.
  • Arapahoe graduate Hannah Wood, runner up in the 5A girls golf tournament last spring, won the CWGA's stroke play championship on Wednesday. She then got a shout-out from Oklahoma's golf team, which she'll join this fall.
  • Regis University is hosting a development baseball league on Saturdays and Sundays this fall. Here's more info.