Snow way Diggers were going to miss opening day

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/23/21

Golddigger Stadium’s bell rings for victory — touchdowns, graduations and so on. On Friday, Clear Creek High School community members rang it to mark their victory over Mother Nature. More than …

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Snow way Diggers were going to miss opening day

Posted

Golddigger Stadium’s bell rings for victory — touchdowns, graduations and so on.

On Friday, Clear Creek High School community members rang it to mark their victory over Mother Nature.

More than two feet of snow accumulated on the high school’s new stadium during the March 13-14 storm; and because of the snow’s weight and Astroturf field’s new condition, the only way to host Saturday’s inaugural football game was to clear everything by hand.

So, CCHS community members did what they do best: They came together to achieve their goal.

From Wednesday to until shortly before kick-off Saturday afternoon, Clear Creek students, parents, staff, and fans put in hundreds — if not thousands — of man-hours to clear the new field. Even Manual High School students and staff helped shovel snow off the sidelines during Saturday’s warm-ups.

“I think we’re all a little bit sore today, and some of us have blisters,” CCHS football parent Christine Hendrickson said Saturday. “ … It was the only way this game was going to happen.”

Clear Creek officials had to decide by Friday morning whether to move the game to Manual High School, and once word got out that Saturday’s home game was happening, it provided extra motivation, fellow parent Liz Houston explained.

Despite the massive task, Houston and Hendrickson described how clearing the field provided an opportunity to socialize with friends they hadn’t seen in a year and enjoy a few days of beautiful March weather.

“I was energized by everyone being out here,” Hendrickson continued. “Everyone was happy to do it, and that made it easy to be out here for five hours.”

Going forward, Athletic Director David Schuessler said clearing snow won’t be so challenging once football returns to fall play. By then, CCHS will have the equipment needed to plow the lighter, autumn snows.

Nothing, though, could’ve plowed so much wet, heavy snow off the field last week, especially without damaging the immaculate Astroturf, he described.

As to how Clear Creek will handle this spring’s remaining snowstorms, Schuessler commented: “We’ll deal with it when it gets here.”

A fresh start

Saturday’s kick-off against Manual High School provided an opportunity for the Golddigger faithful to enjoy the brand new stadium they had been digging out the last few days.

The field was a mesmerizing green; the metal stands felt warm in the spring sun; the announcers’ voices were booming out of the new press box; and the smell of hot dogs and nachos wafted from the spotless concessions booth.

While the Golddiggers lost 14-34 during the stadium’s inaugural game, seniors Armando Acosta and Clay Robertson were grateful to play on a high-quality field.

Acosta noted that there weren’t as many fans as usual because of COVID-19 restrictions, so it was much harder for the team to maintain energy throughout the game.

Robertson said he personally preferred Idaho Springs’ Digger Field, saying nothing will ever beat games there in his mind.

Houston had similar sentiments, saying, “The old stadium has so much legacy, but I think our kids deserve a professionally constructed stadium.”

Hendrickson admitted she doesn’t have the same ties to Idaho Springs’ Digger Field because her oldest son is a freshman, so her children will only play at the high school’s Golddigger Stadium.

While she understood the community’s feelings about leaving the historic field behind, Hendrickson said it was time to make a good, fresh start.

“(Digger Field) was such a community place,” she continued. “Now, we’re taking that feeling and transplanting it here.”

Acosta, Robertson and Schuessler expressed their gratitude for all those who made the new stadium possible, both in terms of passing the bond measure to fund it and clearing off last week’s snow.

Hendrickson commented: “It’s a gorgeous field — I got to spend lot of time on it the last few days. Hopefully, we’ll have a lot of good times and wins here.”

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