It’s been a long time coming for an area high school football team, 16 months after their football field was vandalized, they’re now playing on their home turf for the first time this season.
It’s a sign that Friday night football is back, the chill in the air, the freshly painted yard lines.
But it’s a different feeling when you haven’t been there for nearly a year and a half.
“The goal was always welcome home and that’s what we hope to bring home tonight to our fans who are coming and to our team,” says head coach Seth Jaeger. “It’s just an amazing homecoming, we actually get to play true home games at our own field and that’s pretty special.”
Last spring Fox Valley Lutheran’s football and soccer field was vandalized.
The weather then hampered the repair process and getting things up and running for this year wasn’t much different.
“We had such a wet fall and cold winter that went into spring and to summer and when you’re laying things like sod and grass on multiple fields, it takes a lot of time,” says interim Fox Valley Lutheran principal Alan Nolte. “And they want to do it right the first time so we were very thankful we were able to get it in just in time.”
The team had been practicing on the school’s baseball field and played their home games elsewhere, a blow to last year’s seniors.
“That was a challenge for some in the past year not having a home field, but when if you look at the record last year and how well they did it was something they were able to rise above,” says Jaeger. “This year is just a special occasion.”
The Fox Valley community did step up and let FVL use their field for home games, but now they’re more than happy to be home.
“We’re very thankful to schools like Kaukauna for allowing us to play our home games there last year, but this year now being back on our home turf being back in front of our crowd, truly to be able to play a home game -there’s not much like it,” says Nolte. “You can’t replace that feeling so we’re glad to be back.”
The vandals have not been found, there’s a $10,000 reward for information that could lead to an arrest.
Any leads should be directed to the Appleton Police Department.