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Football Teams Using Memorial Field For Games

Scheduling conflicts made it impossible for Washington Township's youth football teams to use the high school's turf field for their home games.

Washington Township's youth football teams will not be playing their home games on the high school's turf field as previously considered, according to Coach Scott Spezial.

Parents have expressed concern about Memorial Field, which has had problems with plastic netting from old sod sticking above its surface. Township officials voted to re-sod the field, but the project was not started before the Falcons football teams began using the field for practice. The project is expected to be done in early November, after the season is finished.

Because of the safety concerns, township Mayor Janet Sobkowicz said the teams would be able to use the high school's field for games and Memorial Field for practice.

Spezial told Patch that the teams will not be using the high school's field for several reasons, including scheduling problems — the school does not have enough time available for all the teams — and the cost, which Spezial said would be $2,150 for four dates. At this point, there does not seem to be any possible solution, according to Spezial.

"The town cannot and will not do anything to fix the problem in the 2012 playing season," Spezial said.

Spezial was among the residents who advocated for artificial turf at Memorial Field earlier this year. The artificial surface would require less maintenance and eliminate the problems that have affected the field, they said.

Officials considered both the turf and re-sodding plans. After several stalemate votes, the township council voted in favor of re-sodding because of the higher cost of artificial turf, which was estimated to run between $1.8 million and $3 million. There are several other high-cost projects which the town also needs to have done, officials said.

Councilmen said they intended to consider artificial turf again, possibly as soon as next year.

Spezial said he was disappointed with the council's decision and expects that there will be injuries during the season.

"The field has gotten progressively worse since practice has started in August," Spezial said. "Injury to both players from our towns and other towns who play at Memorial Field this year are inevitable due to the condition of this facility."

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Edward J Rodriguez September 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Lets set our priorities, the academics of our school systems. Yes, by that I mean education. There is a difference between dance, music, gymnasics, baseball, soccer and football. Lets care about our childrens future. The school system needs ratings to climb from 7 to 9-10 as most schools in the area have. They need a higher level of direction. Don't make the mistake of including education into the same conversation as sports.
Jeff September 22, 2012 at 03:06 AM
If the field is so unsafe then why does spez allow them to play, also why is he still running this? Are his kids involved? Or is this a social gathering for him and others who have no kids left in the program? The High School seems the best place, maybe they should reconsider, after all it is safer, and that was their big concern . Bet the kids would like to play on that field instead of where they are now. Maybe let newer people get involved, with kids in program.
Township Resident September 22, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Don't see how town recreation has anything to do with the education system. Town council has no say in anything that goes on in the school system. If you are so concerned with the school system show up for the BOE meetings.
Falcon Fan September 22, 2012 at 12:31 PM
More of the same.
oldmanwtp December 05, 2012 at 01:04 PM
jeff : You obviously don't get it. Spez doesn,t make the decision to play there. And it is unsafe. Memorial field is where the football program is told to play by the town, that being the mayor and council. Playing at the high school for four home games does nothing for safety when the football program is forced to play on Memorial every night including B and C games during the week. As far as Scott Spezial is concerned, He dedicates and volunteers his time to better the youth and the community of washington township. He teaches life lessons thru football and is committed to making the youth of this community better people. Social gathering has nothing to do with anything. The football program is the most family oriented ,traditional program thiis town has and its primerily because of guys like Spez and others who commit their time regardless of kids in the program. Ritter, Santisi, Feaster are all guys like spez and are around long term. I understand the football program wouild love to have new people involved. I suggest you speak to coach Spez if your serious about getting involved. Not just hold a bag at practice, but commit the proper and necessary time required to be called a football coach. Social gathering? You obviously don,t get it!

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