Big crowd for big game
Friday night might have been a time for flashbacks for some in the crowd as the Golden Horde took on the Salem Generals under the lights.
The crowd was large — capacity large.
Exactly how large was anybody’s guess, but surely it was the largest crowd for even a Lights Week football game since the idea was brought to life five years ago. The business office said Monday the approximate number reflected by gate receipts was 1,000 people; the exact number is unknown due to free tickets and the sale of family tickets that admit between three and five people.
The hill – both sides of the concession stand — filled up with fans from the fence up the terraced hillside out of sight behind the plumes of light thrown by the portable lighting units.
With the crowd partially obscured by the darkness it was difficult to tell just how big the gathering was particularly when Codi Scribner ripped through the middle of the pack 77 yards to score or DJ Campbell outraced the final potential tackler to cash in his first- quarter interception after a 95-yard return. Sam Eppolito Field could have been Spartan Stadium or the Meadowlands.
The fans that could be seen looked like something from central casting for a Green Bay Packers commercial, bundled up in winter hats, mittens and heavy winter jackets.
Cars lined both sides of Church Street and more than one group of crafty fans had some sort of setup in the back of a pickup truck, which gave them a box seats view of game. Fans of all ages turned out, including the Granville Horde from the youth football program, introduced before the game by announcer Dan Brown as the future of Granville football.
Judging by the looks on the faces of the players getting a high five from Golden Horde head coaches Mario and Aaron Torres, the event was something pretty special to them.
With the crossover victory over the visiting Salem Generals, Granville stands on the cusp of the playoffs for the first time since traveling to Voorheesville in 2005. Granville needs one more league victory, which could come against winless Stillwater on the road Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. Granville will be playing on turf at the new Stillwater sports complex.
For each sports team that gets the opportunity to play under the lights the scene is similar, but no less special. Classmates who might have their own after-school activities also turn out to support the teams.
Parents who might work during the away games or other 4:15 p.m. contests can get to the games. So, too, can the members of the other teams. Typically practicing or playing games of their own simultaneously those students are freed to come out and show their enthusiastic support for their fellow student athletes with face paint and poster board signs with players’ names.
Crowds swell as a result and win or lose the teams appreciate the support.
Co-athletic director Marc Lambert said he thought the thing the student athletes enjoyed the most was that chance to watch their classmates compete in other sports.
“It’s really nice to see the community support; there have been good crowds all week long. The thing that stands out from the athlete’s perspective is they get to come to the games … and see their friends and classmates compete,” he said.