Reporting Matt Brickman
Filed underBest of, Local, News, Seen On WCCO-TV, Sports, Syndicated Local, Syndicated Sports, Watch + Listen
NEW LONDON, Minn. (WCCO) – High school football’s regular season wrapped up on Wednesday night on fields across Minnesota.
But where did WCCO viewers select as the best place for Friday Night Lights?
None other than New London-Spicer’s Pederson Field, located two hours west of the Twin Cities.
The squad’s enjoying a fantastic 2013 season, sitting at 6-1 and ranked No. 3 in Class 3A.
But getting that stage ready for the bright lights isn’t as easy as flipping a switch.
“Last Friday night the storms came through,” Tom Tengwall said. “There was a game postponement and we got two inches of rain, and so when we go here this morning, we were still sloshing in water.”
Enter the NLS grounds crew.
“We had 15 guys with leaf blowers blowing it off before we could paint it,” he said. “Then we repainted the whole field and added all the colors and the logos. So we’ve been a busy bunch.”
And they’ve been busy since this volunteer crew started up 10 years ago.
“There was a group of dads that all had kids in the football program at some point, and we looked at the football field, and God bless the custodians at every school and what they give, but we just wanted it to be better,” he said.
That meant paying attention to the details like straighter lines, and adding a little style.
“Someone brought up the idea of the LSU Eye of the Tiger,” he said.
And then raising the bar for the Wildcats program.
“We added an additional 24 feet on to the press box, 12 feet of that is called our Wildcat Touchdown Suite,” he said. “Unlimited food and beverage. There are four leather chairs at different heights, and there’s instant replay from our Cateye Productions.”
It might seem over the top, considering it’s a better setup than some colleges have. But, when you see what football means to New London-Spicer, it makes perfect sense.
“When we go to state, just like other 3A and 2A schools, the town turns off its lights,” Tengwall said. “That’s the different side of the smaller community, we all wanna go and watch our kids play.”
If you want to check out Pederson Field, NLS will host the winner of Litchfield and Redwood on Saturday Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.