Principia football team enjoys playing on new turf field at school
By: Warren Mayes
After a week off, the Principia Panthers return to action and get to play their second game on their brand new field.
The Lutheran North Crusaders (1-5) come calling on Principia (2-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 6).
Two weeks ago, the Panthers played their first game on the new turf, winning 41–0 over the Missouri Military Academy Colonels.
Before the game, Head of School Marilyn Wallace addressed the crowd, thanking everyone for the donor-funded re-turfing of McCandless Field. Wallace also acknowledged the recent passing of former coach Brian Morse, and the major impact he had on the football program.
Mores spent 36 years as head Principia football coach.
Wallace shared a tradition that Morse started with the players, in which he would ask, “Men, what is football at Principia?” The players would respond: “Sir, football at Principia is 48 minutes of hitting, blocking, tackling, and guts; it’s football played to win, and winners we are! We love it! We love it! We love it! Yeah!”
Principia coach Brad Warrick said it was a memorable day.
“It was good to win our first game on the new field, but what was more important was the opportunity to honor our Hall of Fame coach, Brian Morse, who had just passed on,” Warrick said. “Our Head of School did thank all the donors for our new field and then gave a few words and a moment of silence for Brian Morse — all at the beginning of our game.”
Travis Brantingham, the Principia athletic director, said the new field was needed.
“The turf provides flexibility during inclement weather and helps us preserve our grass fields,” Brantingham said.
It too the school about 10 months from inception, to funding, to completion. Principia went with the company ATG. The school purchased the firm’s RamTurf 50 ounce turf.
“We chose a turf that was appropriate for multiple sports and would stand up to years of use,” Brantingham said.
The field was fully funded by donors and alumni of the school. Director of Development Larry Harrison oversaw the project.
“The primary reason we installed the turf was to allow our student-athletes an opportunity to train as frequently as possible,” Brantingham said.
“Installing turf gave us greater flexibility in the winter, and early spring, months to be outside. For example, our girls soccer program will now have a consistent space to train on even on wet days.
“In the winter our strength and conditioning classes can get out of the weight room for frequently and do their workouts on the turf.”
Principia’s football team did not play last week. Warrick said the seniors went on a class retreat out of town.
With the rainy weather Friday, the field will be in good shape for the game with Lutheran North.
“The players enjoy playing on the new field,” Warrick said. “They enjoy the consistent playing surface regardless of the weather. We (coaches) like it for the same reason — consistent playing surface especially after rain, and perfect lines and numbers on the field.
“It has a great grass feel and look. The referees said that they thought it was the best field in St. Louis after being on all the other fields.”
The Panthers would like to win their second game on the new field. Last year, Lutheran North blanked Principia 41-0. The Crusaders also won in 2010.
“We played North in very close games that we were able to win in 2008 and 2009,” Warrick said.
The Crusaders’ record this season is misleading, Warrick said.
“North just beat MICDS so their record is deceiving,” Warrick said. “They are a very talented team that has improved every week and their offense puts a lot points on the board.”
|hat Warrick wants most is see his Panthers playing better and showing progress.
“Our goal is to continue to improve every week as a team,” Warrick said. “We have shown some great improvement in some areas but have much to improve on in other areas. We are pleased with our improvement and look forward to every opportunity to get better as a football team.”
The formula to beat Lutheran North is not complicated, Warrick said.
“We need to be able to contain their speed and make their offense work for their points,” Warrick said. “Our offense has to be able to control the ball and get some points on the board.”