Eagles get set to fly by night
The Princeton High football team misses out on the Friday night tradition of playing football games at night in front of large crowds because their field is without lights.
That will change Friday for one special homecoming night because the Colusa Indian Community is donating the use of portable lights to give the Eagles a chance to experience what so many high school football players across the country take for granted.
The Eagles play several night games every year - last week's victory against Greenville was a night game - but coach Bryan Lex doesn't think the Eagles have played a home game under the lights, at least not since the football field moved from the elementary school to the high school.
"One of the relatives of one of our players is involved down with the tribe, so I hit him up and he looked into it and those guys came back, a few of them from the Wellness Center, and they just kind of took it by the horns," Lex said.
Senior running back Gavino Mitchum's grandfather, Rick Mitchum, set the plan in motion and it grew into something that has the players and coaches brimming with anticipation.
In addition to the lights around the field, there will be lights in the parking lots, stands and snackbar, as well as mosquito abatement and tree trimming, according to Lex.
"I wish we'd hit them up earlier, they've been nothing but helpful," Lex said. "Hopefully we can get to a tradition where one night a year we light everything up on homecoming and get a nice crowd in."
Lex hopes playing at 7 p.m. rather than 4 p.m. will open the door for parents and community members to get off work in time to attend the game.
The lights arrived Tuesday and the team will practice under the lights on Wednesday while the lights are fine tuned for the game, Lex said.
Another benefit of playing at night is the temperatures are easier to play in, senior quarterback Lucas Hubbard said. "It's always a lot more fun to play under the lights because the weather is a lot better," he said. "You feel like you have more energy."
Their opponent on Friday is Westwood (0-7) and the Eagles (4-3) are on a roll, winning their last four games after starting the season against three of the top teams in the Northern Section 8-man football rankings.
Princeton has scored 48 points or more in each of its last five games, including 76 in their victory on Friday against Greenville.
Mitchum rushed for 254 yards and three touchdowns against Greenville and is looking forward to playing in front of a larger crowd.
Playing at night is a completely different feeling, Mitchum said. There are no crop dusters flying by in the distance and no other distractions on the horizon; everyone is looking at the only patch of light in a sea of darkness.
"The focus is really centered on you," Mitchum said. "Everybody is excited for this, we're ready."
CONTACT Kirk Barron at firstname.lastname@example.org