Steelers embrace annual ‘Friday Night Lights’ in Latrobe | TribLIVE.com
Steelers/NFL

Steelers embrace annual ‘Friday Night Lights’ in Latrobe

Chris Adamski
1489441_web1_gtr-SteelerFest001_080418
Carolyn Rogers | Tribune-Review file
John Bernas, 14, shake hands with former Steeler player, Will Allen, during the annual Steelers Fest outside of Memorial Stadium in Latrobe on Friday, August, 3, 2018.

For Cameron Heyward, it was a little girl who approached him to autograph a program.

To Alejandro Villanueva, what stands out about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ annual Friday Night Lights practice is the ride on the caravan of buses weaving through Latrobe.

“It’s cool to sort of drive around in the buses to load up and get to the stadium and see the houses and see how much they love the Steelers,” said Villanueva, who Friday will be taking part in his sixth practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.

The yearly tradition falls on the second Friday of Steelers training camp, when the players, coaches and staff leave the Saint Vincent campus for the 2½-mile drive down Route 981 to the Latrobe high school stadium.

Typically, the stadium is full, the practice is intense (coach Mike Tomlin often likes to feature popular drills such as goal-line or backs-on-‘backers) and the atmosphere is festive.

“Always an awesome atmosphere,” Tomlin said. “We always enjoy our relationship with this community, and we’re looking forward to working under the lights. It always is an energy-charged environment.”

Heyward said the interactions with fans are more plentiful for this practice than the dozen-plus on Chuck Noll Field each year.

“To spend that time and be able to see mostly everyone, I respond to that,” Heyward said. “A couple of years ago, I got to meet a little girl who came with a program. It just touched my heart to be able to meet those kids. You never know who you are going to affect and who you are going to see, but it’s a great opportunity.”

All proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Greater Latrobe athletic department. Practice typically runs from 7-9 p.m., with gates opening at 5 p.m. SteelersFest will precede the practice, and a fireworks display will follow it.

“It’s a cool thing, familiar faces, the relationships,” Tomlin said. “It’s good to be able to ante up and kick in and help them in some way.”

Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.