The goal posts at Newfound’s new Morrison Field were installed last week and the field is nearing completion. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
August 06, 2012BRISTOL — Newfound Athletic Director Pete Cofran took a few days off at the beginning of August.
When he returned, he found that what was formerly simply a field had been transformed into Newfound's first-ever football field.
The change? The arrival and installation of the field's goal posts, unofficially christening Morrison Field as the future home of the football Bears.
The field, located just across the road from the high school's parking lot, sits neatly on the hillside and promises some impressively colorful views come mid-fall when the leaves are in full color.
As a member of the school's ground crew ran the mower over the field just a few days after the goal posts were installed, Cofran talked about the long road to get to where the field is now and the work that still lies ahead as the Bears prepare to open the season.
Officially, Newfound's football season began yesterday, Aug. 8. However, the team will not be out on its field for practice. In fact, for the first football season, the field use is going to be limited as the Friends of Newfound Football, the non-profit group that raised the funds for the field's construction, hope to let the grass take root.
So, the Bears will practice in their normal spots around the school grounds for most of the year. But there will be one difference this year. Home games, formerly a rare occurrence, will be on the schedule.
The Morrison Field schedule, according to Cofran, will have four varsity games, two JV games and three Junior Bears games.
"We're going to keep the usage down as much as possible," he said of the first year. "Our biggest concern this year is we want the grass to take."
The field, named after the Morrison family, which did the construction work, will see high school football for the first time for a scrimmage on Aug. 25 at 2 p.m. against Epping-Newmarket.
Cofran was quick to praise the work of Morrison Construction and the other businesses and individuals that stepped up to the plate to help get the field in shape.
"Morrison Construction did the whole project for $20,000," Cofran said. "And it was built at no cost to the taxpayers."
In addition to the discounted rate given by Morrison, Fred Fuller Oil donated a lot of the fuel for the Morrison vehicles doing the work and then donated the use of one of their trucks and their staff to help get the goal posts installed.
Kerry Mattson served as the project manager for the project, while Bryan Richardson, the President of Friends of Newfound Football, did a lot of the concrete work in preparation for the installation of the goal posts.
Tim Ford was key in helping to cultivate the grass, using his expertise to make sure the grass took on the new surface.
"He donated a lot of time to get it like it is," Cofran said.
With the goal posts installed and the grass growing, the field is quickly taking shape, but Cofran noted there is still plenty of work that needs to be done and the Friends of Newfound Football will be busy over the next month as they prepare for the first official game.
"The lining of the field, the equipment, that's all supplied by Friends of Newfound Football," Cofran said.
Additionally, fences need to be installed along the edges of the field to keep spectators safe.
"We're just waiting for the posts to go in and then the school board can approve the field," Cofran stated.
Additionally, there will be no bleachers, at least at first, so the field is "bring your own seat." This is nothing new to Newfound fans, as most fields in Division VI don't have many, if any, bleachers available.
The first official home game is set for Sept. 8 against Winnisquam and Cofran said there will be a dedication ceremony at that time to officially open the field.
Cofran compared the experience of getting the field up and running to a major life event.
"It's like a new baby," he said. "But I'm certainly optimistic.
"It's going to be exciting," he added.
For the first time ever, the Bears will have a place to call home, a place to play in front of their home fans without a bunch of traveling involved.
That should make all the work worthwhile.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126