An exciting opening play on a new artificial turf surface at Batavia High School in Chicago’s western suburbs led the way to a 48-0 win against visiting Elgin High School on September 16, the Kane County Chronicle reports.
Matt Huizinga took the opening kickoff in the Friday night game and ran it back 92 yards for a touchdown. The Bulldogs led 41-0 at halftime and made this their fourth win in as many games for this young season.
“It was kind of a high kick,” the Daily Herald quoted him as saying. “When I looked down, I saw Dana (Anderson) and Connor (Oroni) make beautiful pancake blocks. There was a big hole to the left so I just took advantage.”
The game marked the debut of a new artificial turf surface on the field. The $1.4 million upgrade was paid for by a mix of public and private funding.
“You showed us your passion, you showed us your support and you showed us the need for this project,” the Aurora Beacon-Journal quoted Batavia school board President Cathy Dremel as saying to booster club members in January, when the board voted unanimously to support the project. When she said that, the crowd went wild.
All students benefit from artificial turf, and researchers have found very few drawbacks for high school usage. Grass fields get muddy and have to be reserved for varsity football games and, perhaps, varsity soccer games. Other uses, such as marching band rehearsals or PE classes, just aren’t worth the damage they cause to grass fields.
“We’re taking a field that can be used only once or twice a week and turning it into a field that can be used 24/7,” the paper quoted football coach Dennis Piron as saying. “We’re getting a real bargain with this project.”