FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: East Webster anxious for campus home game
East Webster principal Bill Brand has overseen the testing of the lights at the home field of the Wolverines this week. East Webster hosts Vardaman at 7:30 p.m. in Cumberland in what should be an emotional return to campus following the tornado that damaged the site in April. (Photo by Beth Hendrix, For Starkville Daily News)
Friday night lights will take on a special meaning for the East Webster Wolverines.
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East Webster turns on the lights for a football game in Cumberland for the first time since a tornado caused major damage to the campus on April 27.
The Wolverines host the Vardaman Rams and the 7:30 p.m. kickoff won't have the feel of just another football game.
"It's going to be like a homecoming," East Webster principal Bill Brand said. "We get to go back and be on the campus we feel is really like our home."
Brand said when the lights were tested at the football field Monday night, his phone lit up with text messages from people in the community excited about what was happening.
"They were really proud to see the lights back on that campus," Brand said. "It's going to be an emotional evening."
It's been an emotional week for the entire Wolverines athletic program as the softball team hosted Choctaw Central on campus Tuesday.
Brand said it has been a long process to get the campus back in shape to host sporting events, but it's rewarding.
"We tried all summer to get things going, but just couldn't get the go ahead about two weeks ago," Brand said. "We'll have the football field ready and have a temporary scoreboard. We'll have the new scoreboard there in a couple of weeks. We'll have temporary bleachers in on the visitor's side and a visitor's grandstand on that side. It's going to end up being really nice.
"I couldn't name all of the help that we've had, but it's been a tremendous community effort like always and what East Webster people are known for."
East Webster football coach Doug Wilson plans to hold a walk-through at the campus site today and knows that will bring a reaction.
"They are excited about that because they haven't been on that field since last spring before the storm," Wilson said. "Some of them haven't been on the field since last season, but they are really upbeat and ready to go."
According to Wilson, preparation for the season has gone well.
He's amazed with how time has flown by since April as the season-opener and his debut as head coach of the Wolverines are only one day away.
"We've had some good practices and they've been excited about the trips from the field house to the practice field," Wilson said. "Things have been real upbeat and we've had good spirits with that. We were afraid that would be a down time and they would get frustrated, but we've made it fun and had a good time traveling back and forth.
"We've had a lot to accomplish since we started in August. They are doing great."