On Friday night, two teams will get their first glimpses of the new Carter Field.
Every year as the regular season ends, the programs that have qualified meet in the playoffs. These games aren’t held at their home stadiums, as they like to have a neutral field where neither team has a hometown advantage.
Titusville’s new Carter Field was selected as a venue for both football and soccer playoffs, and will see thousands of out-of-towners come into the City to get a look at the field, and maybe get a good meal while they are here.
When the Titusville Area School District school board had the conversation of what to do with Carter Field last year, one argument for upgrading the facility was that it could play host to playoff games.
On the district’s webpage pertaining to the renovations, one of the listed reasons for the upgrades was the potential to host playoff games.
In an email to The Herald, Titusville Superintendent Stephanie Keebler said an estimated 6,000 people will come to town for playoff games and events hosted by the school district.
“Having PIAA playoff games or events at our facilities provides many benefits to the district and community,” said Keebler.
By tonight, the district will have hosted seven playoff soccer games that draw an estimated 300 people into the City per game.
The big event will be Friday night’s football playoff game, when the Saegertown Panthers and Eisenhower Knights come to town.
Keebler said an estimated 700-800 people will come to town for the football game. The playoff games might not stop there, as the playoffs continue, Keebler said Carter Field is being considered for games closer to the championship. The bigger games could draw even bigger crowds.
When these thousands of people come to town, they will need somewhere to get gas, eat and maybe stay over. The hope is that the visitors won’t just go to Carter Field, but also explore what Titusville has to offer.
“The Titusville Area School District is happy to showcase our newly-renovated facility while bringing an influx of people to enjoy the many businesses and amenities of Titusville,” said Keebler.
One business owner connected to football in town is Fat Chad’s owner Chad Covell. Covell has two sons on the varsity football team. His sons love the new turf and Covell loves what the new turf has done for his business.
On game day, before kickoff, his restaurant is filled with football fans, and not all of them are wearing the Rocket’s brown and gold.
“We see a lot of opposing team fans on Friday nights,” he said.
While the Rocket football team might not have any more home games left, the addition of playoff games in town excites Covell, who expects some more busy nights.
“We look forward to catering to the playoff teams and their fans when they come into town,” said Covell.
The playoff games will also provide the district with a rental fee from the PIAA and employment opportunities to host the events.
The students will also be able to benefit, as the THS Marching Band Boosters will be providing concessions.
Moving away from Carter Field, TASD is also hosting PIAA District X Cross Country events on Saturday. Keebler said that an estimated 500 runners and more than 1,000 spectators should be coming to the Ed Myer Complex.
There will be many different fans coming into town throughout the coming weeks. The events will not only show off Carter Field, but also the area surrounding it. Even though the Rockets won’t be competing, sports fans can still experience that “Friday Night Lights” feeling in Titusville again this year.
Dvorkin can be reached by email at Gdvorkin@titusvilleherald.com.