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Constructive Fourth: Superior Central football team, supporters volunteer, donate for field improvements

Head coach Sam Eggleston, left, and the Superior Central High School football team wear their protective masks while moving sand as part of improvement to the school's football field on Friday, July 3, 2020. (Photo courtesy Sam Eggleston)
Vasity players George Mannisto IV, left, and Zach Frusti shovel sand to soften the surface of the Superior Central High School football field on Friday, July 3, 2020. (Photo courtesy Sam Eggleston)

By Journal Sports Staff

EBEN — Some high school kids spent the start of the Fourth of July holiday weekend at the beach or at camp or otherwise enjoying some time off.

But the Superior Central High School football team spent Friday improving their football field, according to their head coach.

They had the help of a tight-knit school and surrounding community that delivered — literally — tons of donations to make it happen.

It all went into improvements for the football field, which head coach Sam Eggleston said has been in rough shape for a number of years, suffering from rock-hard ground, damaged turf and no budget for renovations.

“The playing surface of the field was extremely compacted, which made for less than ideal conditions for being tackled on,” Eggleston said in an email. “We suffered a few injuries last season that I thought we could avoid repeating if we softened up the surface.”

So Eggleston, his assistant coaches and the team spent their day aerating the field, then fertilizing and seeding it with grass, then applying a thin layer of sand as “top dressing” to lighten and soften the surface.

In a year with uncertain school and athletic budgets, the usual fund-raising events have been canceled. In fact, the Cougars’ self-funded football program isn’t even sure when the team can play again.

The funding issues include the field. But in this case, those involved in playing got around it. Midway Rentals of Negaunee donated the use of an aerator and spreader, Holmquist Feed Mill of Trenary donated all the grass seed and Madigan Ace Hardware of Munising donated all the fertilizer.

The sand — 80 tons of it — was donated, along with the transport and labor to move it, by Associated Constructors of Marquette.

To cap it all off, the Rock River Township Volunteer Fire Department rolled up with its fire engine to give the new surface a good watering, which they also did on a volunteer basis.

“We have an amazing community that steps up to support us whenever we need help,” Eggleston said in his email. “Even in times that are very hard for our local businesses, they are always willing to lend a hand, and we are so grateful to have their support.”

Eggleston also noted that two football parents — Keith Frusti (also an assistant coach) and Dan Maki — were willing to bring out their tractors to speed the job along, while credit also goes to volunteer Dale Ruska and the hard-working past and present football players who helped seed, fertilize and dress the field with sand.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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