Lights week is nearing a close, but the finale is yet to come as Granville’s homecoming football game against Catholic Central will take place tomorrow night.
The games under the lights have been somewhat of a group effort to set up and plan.
Athletic Director Steve Palmer said the tradition has stayed strong since Ben Bernard, the Zappones and a few other community members started it in 2004.
“They thought it was a good idea for local sports teams,” Palmer said. Though the idea was originally intended just for a football game, school officials realized it would be beneficial to apply to other sports as well.
“It was my father’s idea. It’s simple: We come from a sports background. Not a lot of kids after high school get a chance to play under the lights for their home crowd, and we just wanted those kids to get that opportunity,” said Matt Zappone, of Zappone Chrysler Jeep Dodge.
He said his company worked as a team with Kathy Juckett, CEO of Telescope Casual Furniture, to sponsor 10 of the lights. Local resident Jeff Harrison is loaning the district the use of one light as well.
“It’s probably my favorite thing we get to participate in,” Zappone said.
Palmer thinks the lights are a unique break from typical late-afternoon games.
“It brings a different element to play at night time,” he said. “It gives a greater focus to athletes to do their best. You’ll see fantastic things in the field when you have special circumstances. It sets the tone for play.”
He said there are usually good crowds for the lights games and is hoping to see the same turnout this year.
In previous years, the district borrowed lights from Whitehall; this year they will come from a rental company.
Additionally, Palmer said he and head football coach Mario Torres are looking into a more long-term lights setup.
“I’d like to put permanent light structures in; we’re pursuing the idea of long term. If anyone is interested in helping with that they can get in touch with Coach Torres or myself,” he said.
Tonight, the boys junior varsity soccer team will host Fair Haven at 7 p.m. Tomorrow night the football team will play against Catholic Central at home at 7 p.m., and the homecoming dance will take place in the high school gym at 7 p.m. on Saturday night.