— By GREG WEBB
BROCK — The ceremonial ground breaking for Eagles Stadium held at Brock High School on Monday ushered in yet another of the multiple meanings of ‘breaking ground’ for a football program rife with firsts — in the recent past and near future.
The most immediate next-first for the gridiron program is the looming varsity schedule set to begin Aug. 30. The “outlaw” schedule, a full 10-game slate without ties to any established district, will precede entry into UIL district play in the 2014 season, i.e., yet another first down the road.
With the passing of the Brock’s bond election last spring (a huge first), the wheels were put in motion to provide a new home for the Brock Eagles, who have played their middle school and junior varsity ball at the upgraded facility located at the junior high.
Brock Athletic Director Scott Drillette gave an overview of the aggressive construction schedule that is intended to accommodate at least part of the scheduled games for the 2013 season.
“The installation of the turf is supposed to be completed by the end of July or early August,” Drillette said of the artificial surface, which Brock also uses for its recently-built baseball and softball diamonds. “That means we should be able to practice on the field pretty soon.
“We’re obviously very excited about having the turf football field. There are a lot of advantages to having that kind of surface. The maintenance is much easier, not having to worry about watering, mowing or fertilizer. And you don’t have to worry about tearing up the field when it is wet.”
The stadium’s initial capacity will accommodate 2,000 spectators (1,200 home-side, 800 visitor-side), and will be yet another step toward the completion of the athletic complex, which already includes tennis courts, the two diamonds and a concession building. Other elements to the complex that will be ongoing through the fall and winter months will be the locker rooms for baseball and softball.
By October, Brock hopes to have the lights, press box and bleachers in place, as well as some of the exterior of the stadium. After its home opener Aug. 30, the Eagles will be on the road for its next five games, returning home for a two-game home stand on Oct. 11 & 18.
“The plan is to have the essentials in place by those home games in October,” Drillette said. “We will have to bring in portable concessions and restrooms, and we won’t have the field house finished. Those facilities will all be taken care of in a single structure and will likely be finished next spring.”
There was a formidable presence at the ground breaking gathering, which included Brock board members, administrators, faculty, coaches, as well as several athletes and cheerleaders who will be treading the turf.
Seth Boleman was one of several athletes present at the ground breaking. He comes into the fall semester as a sophomore and has played Brock football past two years, filling roles at quarterback and linebacker.
“It’s very exciting to see [the stadium] start to take shape. It’s been a wonderful experience watching it all happen.”
With the advent of the Eagles football program and beyond the excitement of attending the games to take in the overall experience, some Brock students have noticed some of the changes taking place off the field, as well.
“A lot of our guys played peewee football, but after Brock started up football, it’s made a difference for them, I think,” said Brock freshman Lindy Drillette, who has witnessed the emergence of the program when it began two seasons ago under the guidance of the program’s head coach Chad Worrell. “A lot of guys playing football now did not play basketball.
“And so, especially the ones that are just playing football now, it really seems like it has changed their attitudes [for the better]. And they are really excited about the season.”
Brocklanders have been a-buzz about its football program for more than two years, eagerly anticipating the plethora of firsts each year has brought. And there is little doubt, with the UIL-sanctioned schedule just another year down the road, there is at least one more “first” the Eagles have placed in their plans.