Grand Lake ready for first home game in 53 years

By By Albert Burford / American Press

GRAND LAKE — For Grand Lake High School supporters past and present, it doesn’t matter that the Hornets suffered a 46-6 loss

at Ascension Episcopal last week — what matters is Grand Lake football is finally home.

On Friday, the Hornets will play a varsity football game in front of a home crowd for the first time since the fall of 1960.

The last Grand Lake varsity football team folded before finishing the 1960 football season. Jerry Demary played on that team

and remembers the final game, which came against Elton.

“We only had 22 boys from the eighth

grade through the twelfth,” Demary said. “It just wasn’t enough

youngsters to have a

football team that way. They chose at that time to disband and

they forfeited the games for the rest of the season. At that

time, they said, ‘in a couple years, there will be more youngsters

coming up and no one will miss out on getting to play.’”

It took more than a couple years — 53 years, in fact — but now nobody in the area will miss out on playing varsity football.

The new stadium that sits behind Grand Lake High School hasn’t been named yet, but it will be abuzz on Friday. The school

has encouraged all former Grand Lake football players to come to the school for a pre-game recognition ceremony before the

matchup with Gueydan.

Demary said he’s happy with the way the

team has built a foundation, bringing up kids through junior high and

junior varsity

teams for the last few years, culminating in their first varsity

season this year. Most of all, he’s excited to see the new

stadium and watch the Hornets play. The stadium will look a bit

different on Friday than it did when the last Grand Lake home

game was played.

“We had a football field out in the

back of the school with bleachers on both sides, but that was about the

extent of it,”

Demary said. “I can remember when it was a six-man team, people

would park their vehicles around the field to give them lights

whenever the game would start getting to the last quarter.”

It’s not just former players who are anticipating the first home game. Grand Lake coach Derrick Fendley said people have been

letting him know they’re ready to see it.

“Even from the elementary kids,

teachers, athletes and everybody are coming in and telling me how

excited they are,” he said.

“They’re so happy they get to come sit in the stands underneath

the lights again. The first home game in a stadium, it’s going

to be electric.”

Junior safety Brycen Savoie, who has been playing with the team since sixth grade, said it will help the players to finally

have a home-field atmosphere.

“It should be nice to actually have a home-field advantage, because I’m tired of going to other places, to be honest,” he

said. “We should have a good crowd. I hear everybody say they’re coming, so it should be really packed.”

Despite the enormous scoreline in the

Hornets’ game last week, Fendley said many of his team’s mistakes were

fixable. Fendley

cited alignment errors missed assignments and said the players

were just excited to be playing ball and didn’t consider the

small things that needed to be done.

Gueydan suffered a similar fate in its first game of the season, losing 50-0 to South Cameron.

“We both lost pretty big, so we definitely want them and I know they want us because we’re the new kids,” Savoie said.