Friendly confines of Roger Dean Stadium to host Jupiter Christian-Glades Day football game
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
by Jeff Greer
Photo by Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post
Roger Dean Stadium grounds crew members paint a G near the goal line Wednesday to prepare the field for Friday's playoff game between Glades Day and Jupiter Christian.
Scroll to the bottom to see a diagram of the field and seating, and also to get directions to the game.
When Glades Day and Jupiter Christian meet on Friday night for the first-ever football game played at Roger Dean Stadium, there won't be any quirky rules.
Leave that to Wrigley Field.
The Class 1B rivals will meet for the second consecutive year in a regional final, but this time they get to settle their differences at the spring-training home of the Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals and the minor-league home of the Class A Jupiter Hammerheads and Palm Beach Cardinals.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The 100-yard football field will run length-wise, from left to right field, just touching the dirt infield of the baseball diamond.
Seating will be the same as it is for the spring-training and minor-league games that Roger Dean hosts, so fans will not be allowed on the infield to watch the game. The best seats likely will be in the far outfield sections along the right and left-field seats.
Roger Dean staffers were excited for the chance to host the playoff game, and the fact that it's football - and not baseball - doesn't change much as far as the approach to the event.
"Our grounds guys are great," Roger Dean Stadium and Event Operations Manager Bryan Knapp said. "They've worked on football fields in the past. It's kind of like a baseball game. Nothing's been that different."
The outer shell of the field was painted on Tuesday, and Jupiter Christian had an evening walkthrough to test the confines.
"It's a tight fit but everything fits," said Nancy Loud, the administrative assistant to athletics at Jupiter Christian. "The kids were warming up like it was Christmas. They're excited."
Knapp said the football field edges into the baseball infield around second base, but only a small portion of the field is on the dirt.
Glades Day's sideline will be on the infield, while Jupiter Christian's will be up against the outfield fence.
The schools will provide the field-goal posts, which will be mounted on soccer goals.
The end zone in right field will be a little tight, with the fences close behind the corners, stadium officials said. But it won't come anywhere close to the Wrigley Field debacle that turned last weekend's Northwestern-Illinois game into a circus. One end zone was so close to Wrigley Field's famous brick outfield walls (which were covered in padding), every offensive possession was run toward the safer end zone.
Roger Dean officials joked Monday that "this isn't Wrigley."
"It's definitely pretty close in some corners," Jupiter Christian coach Bill Powers said, "but I don't see that as any issue at all. I'll be honest: It's pretty cool."
Loud, who serves the school's main contact for information about the event, said she's hoping for a crowd of about 1,500.
For Jupiter Christian's walkthrough, the Roger Dean scoreboard was lit up on Tuesday. It read "Glades Day" and "Jupiter Christian" instead of home and visitor.
It's that kind of hometown touch that makes Jupiter Christian hopeful that it can possibly play more of its future home games at Roger Dean.
The Eagles currently don't have a home field, playing their home games on the road. This season, they played their "home" games at South Fork High School in Stuart, roughly 25 minutes from the Jupiter Christian campus.
"We're waiting to see how it all works out," Loud said. "We want to see if everyone likes it."
The players love the idea. Jupiter Christian senior Josh Talbott said Monday that he and his teammates were excited to be the first football players to play at the stadium.
"It will be a new, exciting thing for us," said Talbott, one of the team's leaders as a receiver and defensive back. "I've never played at a place like that before."