Prep football: South Charleston still hopes to play on campus
There's nothing like spending a week in Texas visiting family ... and high school football stadiums.
South Charleston Coach Donnie Mays said he isn't sure if 2013 - his first year as head coach - will include home games at the high school on the hill.
However, he's preparing to move the process along during a family trip to Houston and College Station to get some ideas toward that end.
"We got down here Tuesday and I've looked at some football fields," said Mays, who visited fields at LaPorte, Katy, Deer Park, Waller and Navasota high schools. "Waller is unbelievable. It has a video board in the end zone, and seats 10,000 people."
He also was planning visits to other high schools and Kyle Field where Texas A&M plays its home games.
The Black Eagles will be trying to get back in the playoffs following a two-year drought. Last season, South Charleston finished the regular season 6-4, but fell short of the postseason.
South Charleston had played its home games at Oakes Field, but is working to get the field at the high school ready in time for its home opener Sept. 6 against St. Albans.
Mays said a ticket booth and some electrical work needs to be done long term.
One addition has been bright yellow, NFL-style goalposts but with high school wide uprights, that extend 30 feet above the crossbar, which sits 10 feet off the ground. They even include the flags at the top of the uprights.
"We lost a game by an extra point when the ball was higher than the uprights (at Oakes Field)," Mays said. "I told coach (John Messinger) 'that ball over over top of the goalpost, 5 feet higher than the goalposts at Oakes Field. I said I don't ever want that to happen again. I want it to clang or go in or out."
Mays said there are multiple benefits to playing games at the high school.
"Just being able to know on a Friday night you don't have to pack things," he said. "One year we played Morgantown in the playoffs (at University of Charleston Stadium) and Tyler Harris forgot his jersey and didn't realize it until 6:30 when we were getting ready to go out on the field.
"His dad was able to get it, but if we were playing at the high school, it would be right there.
"Our walkthrough in the past has been, 'Offense, go, go, go.' 'Defense, go.' Special teams, go.' We do all that in 30 minutes. Now we can slow down a teach."
Mays was named head coach after the resignation of John Messinger, who helped guide the Black Eagles to Class AAA state titles in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, the Black Eagles forfeited a win against Brooke in the semifinals and missed the playoffs the last two seasons.
Mays, the architect of those offenses, stood outside Chili's restaurant within sight of Kyle Field with dreams of what South Charleston can accomplish within a couple hundred feet of the high school.
"I've been up at the stadium working on it in the evening and gotten a lot of good comments about it," he said. "I got some excellent ideas to make our stadium look better."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837.