PORT CLINTON – It won’t be long before Port Clinton junior Brandon Moore is playing quarterback on a new football field.
In the meantime, Moore and the team don’t have a track because of construction on a new stadium.
“It’s inconvenient, but we are all willing to work just as hard without a track as we would with it,” Moore said. “I’m excited about having a turf field and also an eight-lane track to host bigger meets.
“I’m excited about spending my senior year playing and running in a brand new facility. Good things to come,” he said.
This season, coach Seth Benner will have to set up cones in the hallways in the high school. The team will work on things such as jump approaches and handoffs in a makeshift environment ahead of meets.
They will make a heavier workload part of the warmup routine when actually at meets. Benner would normally use practice repetition to get things right.
“Of all the negatives and inconveniences that have come out of this, the kids have been a continuous positive with their flexibility and hard work,” Benner said.
The team will use facilities at Oak Harbor and Danbury when possible.
“If we have to use a parking lot, that’s fine,” Benner said. “Danbury and Oak Harbor have been extremely hospitable, and that’s been a huge help. The kids are like Christmas morning when we go to a facility.
“It gives us an opportunity to simulate competition, use curves and use blocks, and have reference points for exchanges. They’ve been gracious and accommodating.”
Port Clinton has practiced at Danbury three times and Oak Harbor twice. Availability, however, will be further limited by more meets in the coming weeks.
“We are cooperating with a neighboring school district,” Oak Harbor Athletic Director Drew Grahl said, “just like they would do for us if we needed something.
“Although we are county and league rivals with Port Clinton, our coaches and athletic departments have a great relationship. We were happy to help during their stadium renovation project.”
Construction is projected to be complete Aug. 1. There will be an eight-lane track, new jumping areas and a turf football field at True Lay Stadium.
The bleachers and locker rooms also will be new. Port Clinton already uses a new throwing area behind Bataan Elementary School.
Nathan Stubblefield has occupied his time with an injury helping Benner stay organized. Benner, who is getting similar help from Miranda Herevia on the girls side, likes to multitask.
“Those who know me have seen me lose my patience,” he said. “I told them this season will be worse. I told the kids to remind me to be reasonable. We went into this knowing this year would be a challenge, but the big-picture payoff in the future make it well worth it.
“It’s been more difficult than I thought. It’s going to be awesome.”
Benner’s been the head coach since 1997, but he’s currently in uncharted waters.
“It’s like a basketball season without a gym,” he said.
Benner, however, is excited when he remembers to think about the rewards.
“Next year, the kids will appreciate what they have even more,” he said. “Everything will be new. I told (the team) to be patient with the process, close their eyes and visualize how awesome next season will be.
“They get it.”