FISHERSVILLE – What does it take to organize and run an operation at a high school football game between two county rivals that will draw around 3,000 fans?
Well, Wilson Memorial activities director Craig Flesher surely can tell you.
Flesher had that responsibility Friday night when the Green Hornets entertained Riverheads. On top of the game, he also had to plan the Hall of Fame festivities that went with it.
Friday was a conference day when students did not attend class. But it wasn’t a day off for Flesher.
“I got up earlier than on a normal school day,” he recalled.
The Hall of Fame selections had been made in the spring by a committee of eight or nine members. Their induction was paired with the home football game.
And for this one, he got some help from an administrative assistant plus former athletic director Greg Troxell.
“Still, I had to order the food, get the cake and drinks, go to the store, get the tablecloths, pick up the plaques and run a lot more errands,” Flesher said.
Then an hour before game time, it was Flesher who gave the welcoming address and the introduction of inductees for the Hall of Fame reception in the gym lobby.
The activities director said that preparation for the game was as challenging, involving up to 30 people.
In that group was a crew of four in the press box, five or six on the field to handle the chains, four people to man the gates, four deputies to handle the crowd, eight booster club members for the concession stand plus the school’s administrative team to oversee operations.
Of course, weather can easily upset the apple cart. Flesher says he doesn’t do much planning involving weather in advance of a football game.
“I look at the weather (on game day) when driving to work,” he said. “In Virginia, you can have four seasons in one day.”
To all local athletic high school programs, football gates are the biggest money source that fund the sports budget. Other sports pay their way, like basketball, but for some like golf, tennis and cross country, there are no gate fees.
When there are only five home football games, you are always hoping for ideal weather. But sometimes, that doesn’t happen.
Flesher pointed to the team’s home game with Luray.
“There’s a team coming a long distance, and the rain can set you back,” he said.
But for Friday with Riverheads, the weather was ideal and the crowd huge.
And so were the nights for the home games with Waynesboro and Lee.
“That will help the budget a lot,” he said.
For Flesher, like all athletic directors, there’s always the away games.
“When I’m on the road, I wear dress shoes,” he said.
Then looking as his running sneakers, he added, “See what I have on tonight.”