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Wanted: Football field with grass

<p>Richard Stephens / Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Beatty High School football field as it stands today. Games will not be played on it this year, which means other solutions are being looked at.</p>

Richard Stephens / Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Beatty High School football field as it stands today. Games will not be played on it this year, which means other solutions are being looked at.

The Beatty High School football field is often referred to as the “cursed field” because of the past difficulties to get grass to grow on it. During the spring months the field was reseeded once again.

The Nye County School District maintenance and operations manager, Cameron McRae, was true to his word and tried again to get things right after last year’s sod attempt failed. This time a freak rainstorm washed away the work that was completed in late June. The storm hit the week of July 4.

Unfortunately for the football team that was the last opportunity to seed to have it ready for the season.

According to McRae, the Beatty football field has a long history of problems and the school district has brought a lot of heads together to resolve the problem. The field was regraded to correct drainage problems and new soil was brought in last year. McRae said $50,000 was thrown at the problem and if it were not for watering problems the issue would have been resolved then. McRae is taking this latest failure personally and he feels for the people in Beatty.

“I really feel bad about this. I am disappointed that I couldn’t do this. It really bothers me. Mother Nature took this away from us. I am not going to guarantee how the grass would have taken. We did everything up to that point, sampled the soil, conditioned the soil and worked the irrigation system. The final step was to reseed and top-dress and we did it. Then within ten days it got washed away. I will be looking at what next step to recommend to the superintendent. It could be another reseeding, hydroseeding or even another attempt at sod,” he said on Tuesday via phone.

This recent failed attempt means that football will not be played on it this fall. It remains to be seen where the football team will play its four home games. On their original schedule, the team was scheduled to play four games.

One of the options being thrown around is that the team will play their home games in Pahrump.

This has a lot of Beatty residents scrambling for solutions. The parents know that the Beatty athletic program depends on the football gate fees for revenue. Robyn Revert, a Beatty resident who has a son that plays football, was concerned because many of the parents can’t afford to go to Pahrump.

“I really don’t think they put in enough work to make it right and the fact that we have put so much money into it in the past years. The school district keeps putting band aids over it and it just doesn’t work. I am upset because Pahrump got a new field. It’s just not fair to the kids and it will be more costly to the kids. I am hoping to get permission for the team to play its home games at the park,” upset resident Robyn Revert said.

Her husband James Revert said, “For them to cancel all home games is just horrible.”

According to Beatty coach Mark Henderson, playing games in the park could be a viable solution since eight man football is not played on a regulation football field.

“You know you are upset for the kids and for the parents that want to see their home games. This is aggravating. The revenue that would be lost for the school is substantial and it will affect homecoming, and the volleyball schedule. Amargosa Valley School has a field too. This field is big enough for soccer games. Perhaps the games could move there,” Henderson said.

A district source said no games will be played in Beatty. The source said the principal met with Superintendent Dale Norton and a proposal is on the table for the four Beatty home games to be played in Pahrump.

Robyn was called by Norton on Tuesday evening and he had some good news for her. “He told me he was still open to suggestions. Right now we are measuring the park in Beatty, the baseball field at the high school, and the park across the street from the school in Amargosa,” Robyn said. Norton told her to clear all the possible sites with Beatty High School Principal Gary Flood and submit them at the next school board meeting.

The former athletic director and football coach, Leo Verzilli, was up in Beatty and he measured the outfield to see if the football field would fit and it did, which means BHS could use the outfield to play its games. The final word lies with Flood.

Flood was open to all the suggestions concerning keeping the games in Beatty. In a phone conversation he said he would like to make a decision by the end of the week.

“I would like to talk to the head football coach one more time,” Flood said. “We talked about all the options, which also included RCMS and Tonopah High School. We have quite a few options. I just want to bounce it off him to see what he thinks as head coach. I would like to keep in Beatty, and I am certainly not promising anything. We would have to go to the NIAA to see if this is even possible to play without goal posts. We want to keep it here because of the gate fees and the concessions, but it is nice to know that other schools are willing to help us out. Chris Brockman at Pahrump and Tim Wombaker at Rosemary Clarke Middle School have all been very helpful. All the schools have been more than gracious and it feels good to be working with people who say they will do whatever they can for us.”

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association was called on the goal posts, but has never had this problem in recent history. Donnie Nelson, the assistant director of the NIAA, said a letter of appeal would need to be sent to the NIAA and then permission would either be denied or granted.

School will start on August 11 and that is when the football team will be practicing.

The team usually practices on the baseball field so practice should not be a problem.

The first Beatty football home game is scheduled with Spring Mountain on Sept. 12.