Warhorses get a new pasture

Turf replaced at Owen High School's Warhorse Stadium

Fred McCormick

Fall football season at Warhorse Stadium will take place on brand new turf.

When Texas-based Hellas Construction finishes the job in a few weeks, the Warhorse faithful will undoubtedly notice a few changes.

Owen athletic director and longtime Warhorse offensive coordinator Anthony Lee said the old turf, which has been the surface since Warhorse Stadium first opened about a decade ago, was due to be replaced.

“The lifespan of the turf is 10 years. That’s how long the company that put it in guarantees it,” Lee said. “The main concern is protecting the student athletes. So the turf may look fine to the public, but the turf company says it’s time to replace it.”

Other changes that fans will notice include a horseshoe, the Warhorses’ logo, in the center of the field, replacing the school’s iconic “O.”

“And the field used to have ‘Owen’ in each end zone,” Lee said. “Now it will have ‘Owen’ on one end and ‘Warhorses’ on the other.”

But for the most part, the field will maintain its classic look and feel, according to Lee.

“Some people go to extremes with fields,” he said. “In talking with our coaches and everybody that had input, we realized that some people like to go to extremes, with maybe alternating turf color every 10 yards or so. In our eyes we thought that was too busy-looking. We just like all the same shade of green and trimmed in maroon.”

Crews began tearing up turf on one side of the field on June 13 while the Warhorses practiced on the other. Just a few days later, the entire surface was removed and the team moved practice elsewhere.

“We’ve been going through workouts the last few days at a big open field on property leased by the Black Mountain Home for Children,” Lee said. “They were nice enough to let us use the field, and it’s a great field. We marked it off and it’s only about five minutes from our locker room.”

Work on the field is scheduled to be completed before the season begins Aug. 1, according to Lee.

Less than a decade old, the old field at Warhorse stadium has been involved in plenty of history. It was the surface on which Jager Gardner broke the Western North Carolina all-time career rushing record in 2014. It was also the field where former Warhorse head coach Kenny Ford finished his 29-year coaching career with the team.

Most recently, rising junior Sidney Gibbs rushed for many of his 1,750 yards as a sophomore.

The new field will make its debut on Aug. 19 when Owen hosts Enka in the first game of the 2016 season.