Artificial turf much admired

NEW ULM – Before the new artificial turf football field was officially inaugurated with the New Ulm’s football game against Belle Plaine on Friday night, students from the new high school saw and stood on the new field.

“It was really fun to see all of the kids up in the stands,” said Rob Bute, former head football coach for the Eagles. “We had the [Homecoming] court on the field and the typical pep fest stuff. But you could tell that the kids were really excited. We had about 670 students along with the faculty and staff… The football players were really excited about being able to play on it now.”

Bute said that it is nice to see New Ulm get these kinds of facilities.

“It is going to benefit the students academically, it will help the community and help us grow,” Bute said.

Belle Plaine head football coach Justin Johnson said that the facilties are beautiful.

“It is nice to have this facility for high school football especially here in Minnesota,” Johnson said. “We have played on turf before – we played at Lakeville in the state quarterfinals. Jordan has a turf field and every summer we go to [SMSU]. It really adds class to the facility. I think that the people of New Ulm should be absolutely proud of this facility.”

Another former New Ulm High School football coach, Rick VanRoekel, said that now the Eagles have their own home.

“You are playing on your own campus, and playing right by your own high school means a lot. Being an artificial turf field is great. All of the people in New Ulm should be excited about this. This fall there are going to be some sectional playoffs here and that will showcase New Ulm. Now this facility is a playoff site because you have to have artificial turf. There are not a lot of (artificial) turf fields around here. That is going to generate revenues,” said VanRoekel.

Former New Ulm football player Nate VanRoekel, now living in Owatonna, said that the new field looks great.

“The Eagles logo on the 50-yard line looks great,” he said. “I know that a lot of these turf fields have a [portable] bubble over them for spring sports.”

ERRORS STOP EAGLES: New Ulm head football coach Corey Kneeshaw said that his offensive line had more penalties Friday it has had all year.

“Those were mistakes that put us in tough situations,” Kneeshaw said. “I am not sure if this was a step back from the St. Peter game because the competition was a step up. Within our district you have a team that is on top in Marshall, a team in the second level and then you have some third-level teams. Our hope was to show that maybe we had made that step up to that second level but we are not there yet.”

The Tigers ran 39 offensive plays in the second half, to 18 for the Eagles.

GREYHOUNDS REBOUND WITH WIN: New Ulm Cathedral football coach Denny Lux said that his team played solid in its 42-14 win against Springfied on Friday.

“[Springfield] has had injuries to some key players so they were playing some sophomores just like we were,” Lux said. “We did not make many mistakes, we kept our penalties way down, and our quarterback [Jacob Manderfeld] threw the ball well and we got our running game going, which is something that we talked about all week in getting the fullback involved in our offense.”

Lux said that fullback Tyler Mack has taken over that spot since the injury to John Gillis earlier in the year.

“He ran hard and he found the holes,” Lux said. “But the big thing was that he came through the line with his shoulders low, and as he progressed downfield, he started to open up and see where the cutbacks were. He played a real solid game, but our offensive line did an excellent job.”