The residents would protest was one, though the field faces mostly commercial lots near Santa Monica Blvd. Another was that the school’s underwater springs could possibly short-circuit the wires. Regardless of the reason, that will change with tonight’s game versus Locke when University plays their first home game with permanent lights in the school’s 88-year history.
This won’t be the first time night game at University High. Since 2006, the school has brought in portable lights from their homecoming game and the success on the field was immediate.
“When we first implement the lights, that was the first year we had [Detroit Lions WR] Titus Young and we actually beat Westchester [at home] for the first time in school history. Its nice to come back in 2012 and see how far the program as come,” said offensive coordinator Jerron Tatum.
The anticipation from the school and the community has been building up with the recent addition a new gymnasium and now the promise of a new turf field and scoreboard for next season.
Yet it is the talk of night football games that has grabbed the attention of the players.
“The support system is going to be higher. We had a few fans and family members at our 3 o’clock games but its going to be more [now],” said senior defensive back Jah-Real Mills. “It’s going to get more kids [pumped] up cause I have people out here watching me,”
Last week, the Wildcats had an opportunity to test out the lights in field conditions.
“We had the night scrimmage to get the kids acquainted with the lights. It looked good and the backdrop was,” said head coach Lee Lowe.
The previous portable lights had its share of problems. The dreadful system produced dark patches where players had trouble seeing parts of the playing surface and the uneven lighting cause headaches for everyone on the field.
None of that seemed to be a concern last week during the scrimmage.
“The difference was the whole field was covered with lights. There weren’t any shadows and it was much brighter. It felt good playing on it,” said linebacker Myles Jackson
Junior lineman Isaac Yoshinaga also agreed.
“It felt really great even though there was no one here to watch us, but the intensity was really good and come Thursday it going to be nice,”
Expect a large crowd for tonight’s game and the Wildcats will depend on them in a bid to upset their Coliseum League foe.
“[The crowd] It means a lot to us,” said Jackson. “Because we have the crowd behind us, pumping us up, and getting us into the game. They are our 12th man on the field.”