Drought's Effect on High School Football

By Josh Simon

August 2, 2012 Updated Aug 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM CDT

Metamora, Ill -- With less than a week until high school football practice kicks off, local school districts are trying to keep their fields green and safe in the middle of the worst drought since 1988.

The residents of Metamora are proud of their football team, and their football Field. But this season keeping the grass green at Malone Field has been tough.

Metamora Athletic director Jared Hart said, "The low humidity, those upper 90 almost 100 degree days, and you had a wind blowing. All three just continue to suck the moisture out of the ground."

Because of the lack of moisture all the fields including the practice fields are rock hard and that can cause injuries.

Hart said, "When a kid hits the ground tackled on a hard surface that hasn't had water for 2 months consistently, you know the necessary water needed to soften the surface it's going to be a lot harder than that."

At Dunlap high school it doesn't matter how much rain we get or don't get. Their football field will always be green and soft. The school installed field turf last season as part of a $2.5 million improvement to their athletic fields.

Dunlap Athletic Director Greg Crider said, "Between the football program, soccer program, marching band you can use this field non-stop. It can't get enough use. For as much use as it gets it was well worth the cost."

The advantages of the Fieldturf here at Dunlap clearly out weigh the disadvantages but there is one major drawback

Crider said, "During the heat when you're on the turf it's about ten degrees hotter so you get out here in July and that heat is pounding as opposed to regular grass it's a little bit warmer on the turf and that's a drawback I'll take."

High school practices start August 8th.

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