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Southmoreland tackles flood-damaged turf

| Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 11:27 p.m.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Roughly one-third of the artificial turf at Russ Grimm Field at Southmoreland Senior High School was pushed into ripples by the force of flood waters.

Southmoreland administrators hope to repair the flood-ravaged turf at Russ Grimm Field so the entire season of home football and soccer games isn't a washout.

A torrential storm that dumped more than 2 inches of rain caused flooding in East Huntingdon and other areas in Southwestern Pennsylvania on Friday. The rushing water pushed under the turf surface, ripping and crinkling it along its path.

“We're still in assessment mode,” Superintendent John Molnar said on Monday. “We're trying to get this done correctly.”

Molnar said school officials met with insurance representatives and those from ProGrass, which installed the surface in 2006 and assessed the damage on Friday.

“It was just flooded,” Southmoreland football coach Mark Adams said. “When I got here, I saw the devastation.”

Molnar said the field will not be used before the turf is repaired, even though some portions were unharmed.

“There is water damage under the carpet,” he said. “We don't want anybody twisting an ankle. The main thing is keeping all players safe. We're keeping them off the field, even the part that was not lifted.”

Adams said the Scotties have moved practices to the grass field next to the stadium. Because officials don't yet know where Friday's game will be played, Adams hopes to get in at least one practice session on artificial turf.

Officials don't know when the field will be restored to playing condition.

“They are trying to give us a temporary fix so we can at least have two or three home games,” Adams said.

Friday's football season opener against Jeannette will not be played there, nor will a girls soccer scrimmage against Plum Tuesday. The soccer scrimmage may be moved to Southmoreland Elementary School.

Athletic Director Charlie Swink is looking for a field for the Scotties to play their Class AA Interstate Conference game against Jeannette.

“We have several options available to us,” Molnar said. “Charlie is looking at which one of those options is the best.”

The Scotties were scheduled to host Jefferson-Morgan in a scrimmage last week, but the game was moved to Jefferson-Morgan after the field was damaged.

Southmoreland's next home football game is Sept. 13 against Mt. Pleasant. The home opener for the boys soccer team is Sept. 3 against South Park and for the girls it's Sept. 7 against Bentworth.

“We will be changing the schedule times and may try to play more away the first half of the season,” Swink said of the soccer teams.

Paul Paterra is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at ppaterra@tribweb.com.

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