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Rock Creek to unveil stadium upgrade

By Joel Jellison

Back in early July, Rock Creek’s football stadium looked a little bare.

The old beachers had been taken down on both sides of the field, and it’s press box had been removed.

This Friday, the school will showoff what’s taken place in the two months since that time when it hosts St. Marys.

As part of a $4.5 million bond project, the school went from 500 seats on its home side to more than 2,200. And its mostly non-existent visiting seating has grown to seats for more than 700.

The old press box was replaced with a 22-seat, heated and cooled box with an upper area for filming on its top deck. The new box also has Internet access.

Rock Creek coach Mike Beam said Southern Bleacher Company out of Texas practically built them a new stadium.

“They worked extremely fast and I think they do quality work,” he said. “They spent a lot of time working on it, and it’s complete.”

With the Rock Creek school district constantly growing, the school felt the need to avoid future issues with hosting games if it moved up to Class 4A. In 2009, the Mustangs were forced to play a 4A quarterfinal game at Bishop Stadium in Manhattan.

Further improvements to the field included a new, soft-surface track, which will have lines painted on it before the spring. Also listed under the bond project are eventual improvements to the Mustangs’ locker rooms, notably to make the building larger.

As for the game itself, the Mustangs (0-2) are looking to improve from a slow start to the season.

With a young team, including returning just one starter on offense, the Mustangs have taken their lumps early. And a win over the Bears, Beam said, would be an upset.

Beam’s team will be taking on a team that likes to play a physical run game, while trying to recover from the bruises and bumps of what has been a physical season so far.

Quarterback Brett Hammett went down early in last week’s loss at Wabaunsee, and the Mustangs have had to make changes on the offensive line due to injuries as well. Beam said Alex Feldkamp will start at quarterback this week.

“We haven’t had a game yet where we’ve had a normal rotation or normal group yet on the field,” he said. “We haven’t been very physical, and we keep getting kids injured and we’ve been fighting that since camp opened up. I’m hoping we can get back to normal and stay healthier some time soon.”

The Bears are 1-1 after thumping Valley Heights 42-13 last Friday, and Beam said he expects St. Marys coach Kevin Kinderknecht to bring a good team to Flush.

“They’re really quick off the ball and that’s kind of a trademark of coach Kinderknecht’s teams,” he said. “They always come up with good skill players, that can run and they have a quarterback that can throw well enough to keep you honest.”

The Bears kept the ball on the ground, for the most part, last week, rushing for more than 300 yards, with Phil Johnson rushing for 260 on his own.

Beam joked that between homecoming being this week, along with the unveiling of the stadium’s improvements, they’d try to fit in a football game somewhere as well.

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