Blackman football program set to open season on turf field

Blackman head football coach Kit Hartsfield and assistant coach John McCreery are all smiles as the stand at mifield of the Blaze's new turf field. MONTE HALE

A California high school's loss turned out to be a major gain for Blackman's football program.

Sure, the Blackman administration planned to see the Blaze playing on a turf field this upcoming season, but things fell into place much better and easier than originally planned.

"It just kind of started with a vision and with (assistant) coach (John) McCreery," Blackman head coach Kit Hartsfield said. "It quickly filtered to our administration and then to a team of four or six parents, who really followed that vision and really worked to get the funds to get this field done."

"The normal cost would have been between $65,000 and $800,00O," McCreery said. "We were truly blessed in a lot of ways. The project was a little less than $500,000. I mean some things just really came together. I don't know why this happened and I don't know why God wanted us to have a turf field, but I'm sure glad he does."

The 3D3 Trionic field the Blaze will be playing on was actually built for a high school in California.

"It was actually constructed for a school out there," McCreery said. "The numbers and white lines and our colors were the same. Their funding fell through and we were able to purchase it.

"It's the only one of its kind in Tennessee. I know Vanderbilt is looking at putting the same field in."

Blackman will be the first Rutherford County program to play on a turf field. Plans also are in place for Oakland to have a similar surface. Blackman raised the necessary funds in about six months.

"Number one, it's great for the community and how it can be utilized," Hartsfield said. "There have already been several thousands of people use it.

"I love the upkeep of the field. There are a lot of games going on -- freshmen, junior varsity, high school, middle school and youth league. It provides a safe surface to play on every time they step on the field. That's really important to us, and I think it's a huge advantage. Practice-wise, having all the field markings and practice vision is something we've really enjoyed so far."

Blackman's first official game on the new surface will be on Aug. 24 when the Blaze play host to state power Alcoa, which is led by former Riverdale coach Gary Rankin.

Ironically, both Hartsfield and McCreery played at Riverdale in 2004-2005 and 1980-1982, respectively.

"The kids are super excited and very grateful and want to be on it all the time," Hartsfield said. "They enjoy running around it have said they feel like they can run faster.

"It's fun for them to just know they have something that no one else has, and it makes them very appreciative."

2019 Blackman Football Schedule

8/24: at Alcoa

8/30: Ravenwood

9/6: at Coffee County

9/13: at Independence

9/20: at Warren County

9/27: at Riverdale

10/4: Oakland

10/18: at Rockvale

10/25: Siegel

11/1: Cookeville

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