The setting was terrific Saturday afternoon behind the seven-year-old Franklin High School on Elizabeth Avenue. Great weather, big crowd and two league rivals matching up on the slick turf, just the second time the home team has had a chance to play on it.
One game a year ago today against Montgomery – a 41-0 Franklin win – and Saturday with Bridgewater-Raritan, won by the Panthers 41-21.
Franklin hopes someday very soon to play all of its home games – perhaps at night – on the turf, moving over from the natural grass field at Ackerman Field, now home of the Franklin Middle School.
“It could be the crowned jewel of the township,” said high school principal James R. Bevere.
“It should be the center of community, a facility like this?” he added. “Lights, a new field, we could have band competitions, Pop Warner games …”
Though the issue is a popular one throughout the sprawling township, there is nothing certain about when it will be completed.
“We’re continuing discussions in terms of laying out all the different options we could have for completing and funding it, so right now we’re just going to continue to discuss laying it all out,” said Superintendent of Schools Edward Seto. “The goal is to be able to lay out exactly what we can do and whittle it down to what we will do and identify all the funding sources that we need to complete it, and we expect that piece to be done before June 30. We expect it to be finished within in the next year or two after that.”
He added that if the discussions go smoothly that the project could even be started before the end of this school year.
“We have to get everybody together to lay out all the different options and coming to agreement on the option that will best serve our district and community, fund raising is a major piece, another is going to a partnership with the township or dedicating funding from an existing budget,” said Seto. “The issue isn’t being on the same page, I think we have to finish writing the page first.”
Seto referred to finishing “phase two” No. 1 which is topped by the installment of visiting bleachers, a press box, concession stands, bathroom facilities and locker-rooms. Since the complex has an eight-lane track Franklin could host state-level track meets with all of that in place.
“That’s the plan, that’ll be one of the motivators for wanting to complete it is that we’ll also be able to generate income and it’ll help us sustain the maintenance costs and all that goes with that,” said Ceto.
Right now, all Warrior teams play and practices behind the high school except the football team, which is still back at Ackerman.
“It’s frustrating to have such a beautiful facility and not be able to use it fully,” Ceto added.
South on high
South Hunterdon has a chance to win its first divisional title in years Friday night if it can win on the road at beat Bound Brook. The Eagles (3-1) are 3-0 in the Mid-State 38 Hills with Roselle Park finished its division schedule at 3-1, but lost to South Hunterdon 19-9 a week ago Friday night. Bound Brook at 2-1 in division and 3-1 overall. Bound Brook lost to Roselle Park 23-13 Friday night.
Governor Livingston notes
Governor Livingston became the second area team stifled by Rahway’s steadfast defensive front on consecutive weeks. After allowing Delaware Valley to run for 430 yards – Dion Roman going for 325 Sept. 14 in a 27-20 Terrier win – the Indians limited Scotch Plains-Fanwood and GL offenses when it mattered most in the first half. Both teams relied more on their ground games and the squads combined for just 24 points in two games, most of it coming in the second half. Governor Livingston (0-4) mustered just 33 rushiing yards in the first half as Rahway raced out to a 41-3 advantage.
“I felt we’ve gotten better each time out,” said Governor Livingston coach JR Lubisco, whose team rolled up 300 yards rushing in a win over Warren Hills a week ago Friday in a 33-22 loss. “We were doing well downs one through three and they just tightened it up on us on fourth down and that really hurt us.”
The Highlanders had eight different ball carriers in Saturday’s loss.
Game of the week
No. 6 Bernards (4-0) plays host to No. 4 New Providence (4-0) Friday night at Olcott Field in a game that will determine the Mid-State 38 Union Division title. Both teams are 3-0 in division play. Bernards won the Mid-State 38 Hills Division last year and New Providence is the two-time defending Union Division champ. Bernards moved over to the Union this year.