Memorial Stadium renovations make debut Friday
Fans attending Valley's home opener Friday between the Vikings and Blackhawk will get a chance to see the first phase of the Memorial Stadium renovation.
The original entrance near Pucketos Creek, closed for many years, has given way to a modern concession stand and restroom building. There will be four concession windows for dishing out all the hot dogs and soft drinks.
The bridge crossing the creek has been refurbished in a project that included putting in a lane separating walkers from vehicles crossing the span.
The scoreboard has been relocated to the side of the field at the foot of the hillside, which will take some getting used to after looking at the scoreboard on top of the refeshment stand for decades.
Souvenir bricks have been established in the shape of a letter "V" just inside the entrance. Citizens purchased bricks, many to commemorate a deceased loved one.
One brick is in memory of Scott Doutt, the promising Valley quarterback who was paralyzed in a 1976 football game at Penn Hills and died in May, 2002. The memory of Doutt's courage and his love for football should be a permanent part of the community.
The stadium was opened on Sept. 6, 1947 when the Ken High Red Raiders played host to Central Catholic. The Steelers played an exhibition game there the following week.
Improvements will continue in the future as New Kensington-Arnold School District officials have traveled to other facilities to see what has been accomplished.
Speaking of accomplishments, how about the 2-0 Valley Vikings• Two wins are modest, to be sure, but the team has played well enough to hang on twice for victories.
Blackhawk, the No. 2 Class AAA team in this week's Valley News Dispatch Coaches Poll, rolls into town Friday with the sour memory of a first-round playoff loss to the Vikings in 2000.
Springdale resident Lou Zott, former athlete at Har-Brack High School and Duquesne University, later a coach and referee, would like to see Highlands name its stadium after his former coach.
Dick Williams had a tremendous career at Har-Brack, including football teams that featured five high school All-Americans in a 10-year span.
One was Paul Severin, whose jersey was retired Aug. 30 by the University of North Carolina.
"Tarentum named their stadium after John Dreshar," Zott said. "I think the school board there ought to look at it."
Zott, 84, was an Alle-Kiski Valley Hall of Fame inductee in 2002.
"When I played in the 1930s, a college scout would always talk to Dick ," Zott said. "Nobody in the Valley would go to a big-time college unless the scouts talked to Dick first."
At the very least, Highlands might want to look into a commemorative plaque or bust of Williams, something like Valley has for legendary Ken High coach Don Fletcher.
Plans are being made for a reunion next week of the 1973 Springdale football team that won the WPIAL Class AA championship.
Team members will convene prior to the Springdale-Leechburg game Sept. 19 at Veterans Memorial Field. Sam Sack, the team's leading rusher that memorable season, has helped to organize the 30-year commemoration. The difficult part of the job is that few members of the team remain in the area. Most have fanned out to other parts of the country.
The Dynamos lost the season opener in 1973 and won the remainder of their games, including the WPIAL title game over Union at Thomas Jefferson High School stadium.
Plans are to introduce the returnees before the kickoff. Members of the 1973 squad who have not been contacted by reunion organizers should call current Springdale athletic director Ray Davis at 724-274-2125.