By Kevin Tustin
Yeadon >> Penn Wood High School will have a historic homecoming game tonight with the football team playing its first game under the lights and a march with an Olympic athlete.
A $3,000 grant from the National Football League Foundation was awarded to football coach Nick Lincoln to rent lights for the Penn Wood Patriots to allow the team’s first night game in school history at Kerr Field in Yeadon.
The Patriots will go up against the Glen Mills Bulls at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s really exciting. I think it adds a whole other element to this game,” said Patriots Head Coach Nick Lincoln Thursday afternoon at Kerr Field. “The kids came out here and practiced last night and it was a different feeling … it’s a great moment for the program.”
Lincoln said his players were excited when told they would be hosting their first night game in school history.
“I think I told them about two or three weeks ago … and they were just elated. For a moment it was quiet, like they were processing it,” said Lincoln. “They were excited beyond measure, I’m not sure how to put it into words. They were hooting and hollering for like 10 minutes.”
The portable lights, which reach about 35 feet, will really put the spotlight on a tight matchup between the Patriots (4-1) and Bulls (3-2).
This “crowning achievement” for the Penn Wood football program does add some pressure with a higher than expected turnout for the gridiron showdown.
“They’d like a win and it would capture (the moment) for us, but the reality is it’s a football game and we need to come out rumbling. We just happen to be under lights this time,” said Lincoln.
Leading up to the game, Olympic athlete and 2011 Penn Wood alumnus Darrell Hill will lead a March of Excellence from the high school’s Cypress Street campus to the field at 6:45, accompanied by the marching band, cheerleaders and the football team.
Hill will initiate the coin toss at 7:20.
The district worked with the community to help make this year’s homecoming a historic one.
“I have been in the educational field for over 40 years; this event will be one of the highlights of my career,” said acting Superintendent Jane Harbert. “I am eager to see, feel, and hear the excitement of our students and community members. We could not pull this event together if not for the community support.”
Penn Wood Principal D. Brandon Cooley also complimented the collective efforts brought forth for the night.
“I am glad that we were able to work together to get the resources to make this a reality,” he said. “I encourage everyone to participate in this historical moment and come out to see our first game played under the lights.”