TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Rickards High School will have a new turf field this school year. They're the latest Leon County public high school to convert from natural grass to turf in a move the county says saves money, and they didn't pass up the chance to make it their own.
"It was different," said head coach Quintin Lewis. "Everyone was going to get a turf field, let's get something that'll be special."
Something blue. The Raiders are making a bold statement.
"I remember someone coming over and showing me an illustration of Boise State blue," said athletic director Claudette Farmer, who admitted she wasn't too keen on the blue at first.
"We thought blue would be perfect," added Lewis. "I got with a couple of my fellow alumni and that was the consensus. Let's try and get blue."
It was a process that took time. Rickards had to get permission from Boise State to use the blue, as the University has a federal trademark registration for "the color blue as applied to artificial turf." The wait has been worth it.
"We all watch it every morning coming in for workouts," said Lewis. "We watch what's going on. The guys are really pumped, they're very excited. We have Trinity Christian, big time game the first night."
"It's a lot of pride, it's awesome, it's popping," said Farmer. "There's been shots on the internet and Rickards people are going crazy."
The new arrival comes at the perfect time.
"The student base is really pumped about it," said Lewis. "They'll be happy to be back on campus next year at 100%. I'm envisioning packed out games and sold old events for years to come."
Lewis said they currently have three home games set to play at Rickards this fall. Seating is limited, and he said the plan is to allow people to sit around the field, but he hopes to add more bleachers soon.
The Raiders field will also be kept cooler by using BrockFILL instead of the traditional crumb rubber. BrockFILL is an engineered wood particle the company says can keep surface temperatures of fields as much as 50 degrees cooler.