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New Platte football field not ready for season

PLATTE — Playing on a new field was in sight for the Platte-Geddes/Dakota Christian football team this year.

But after reviewing the field earlier this summer, Superintendent Joel Bailey said the field isn’t ready to take on a full season.

“I went out there with some community members and there were spots that we didn’t feel were going to be ready for the first game,” Bailey said. “The ultimate deciding factor was it is a safety concern. There’s no grass in some spots and there are low spots where soil had settled in.”

The Black Panthers are scheduled to host Freeman in their season opener Aug. 30. Bailey said the team won’t use the new field until the 2014-15 season. The team will still use its existing field for home games this season — which is in “very good working condition,” according to Bailey.

“Ultimately, it would’ve been great to be out there but the facilities weren’t ready,” Black Panther head coach Darren DeNeui said. “I think anytime you tell a group of people that something’s going to happen and it doesn’t get done, there’s going to be disappointment.

“But (the team) understands that we need to be safe, and playing on it one night might have ruined the field for the whole season.”

Even with the push back, Bailey said he’s received positive feedback not only from the coach and team but from the community.

“About 99.9 percent of the community is supporting the decision,” Bailey said.

Several years ago, a plan was formed to build a new athletic complex, which includes a new track and an eventual football field. The track, which will be used for the first time this spring for competitive meets, is complete, and the football field was initially planned to be finished in three or four years, said Bailey.

Bailey added the new football field was put on the fast track to being finished last year, but didn’t reveal why the decision to go forward earlier than planned was made. He didn’t want to rush getting players onto the new field because he didn’t want unnecessary costs to build. Bailey said once the facility is complete, it will hold 1 1/2 times the amount of people the existing field does.

Bailey did not release the amount of the entire project.

In moving forward, the light posts, scoreboards, bleachers, etc., will be moved over to the athletic complex after this year’s final home football game for the track season.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.