St. Marys Readies For Home Opener

By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

After 82 years of St. Marys football at Skip Baughman Stadium, a new era of Roughriders football begins on Friday.

As St. Marys opens the home portion of its schedule at the new Grand Lake Health Systems Field next to Memorial High School, the athletic department is gearing up for its first high school football game at the $3 million complex.

Parking lots and new concessions are headliners for the opener, along with Friday’s Western Buckeye League matchup between St. Marys and Van Wert — two of the most historic football programs in the history of the league.
Here are the important aspects to know heading into Friday:

PARKING
There will be three parking lots, Lot A, B and C as well as a drop off zone.
All three lots will have general parking, but Lot A will feature free general parking, with Lot B being reserved parking, event staff parking, handicap parking and leftover parking being general parking, but St. Marys Athletic Director Jim Hollman added that it will be trial run of sorts with it being the first game at home. Hollman said on Wednesday that there are about 260 reserved parking spots for Lot B. Lot C will be visitor parking, as well as event staff parking and bus parking on the southeast end of the lot.
Lot A will also feature a student drop off/pick up area in the small lot located just northeast of the high school.
Entrance into Lot A can be accessed from state Route 66 and Shipman Road and the exit from the lot can be accessed at Shipman Road. The parking lot east of the school will be reserved for the football team, St. Marys All Brass Band members and St. Marys Cheerleaders. The only access to that east lot is by driving along the south side of the school. The entrance/exit off Shipman Road that connects to the east side parking lot will be gated off.
Lot B will also feature tailgating, lining the south side of the lot by the walking path that connects the school and the stadium. Fans can still tailgate along the walking path, without having to pay for a spot to tailgate, however, if fans do not buy a tailgating spot along with reserved parking, that spot would not be guaranteed.
Tailgate parking passes are $50 per game or $250 for the season.
Tailgate parking is for one vehicle and area for a tent. This is a no smoking or drinking area and the tailgating area is subject to patrol by police and school administration.
The lots will have more handicap parking than there was at Skip Baughman Stadium. Handicap parking on the home side is behind the stands and stretches throughout the length of the stands to the concession building and will feature 20 spots in Lot B. Lot C will have 10 handicap spots.
Polls are up on lots B and C to indicate where parking spaces are located. There are approximately 650 spots for both lots combined. Hollman added that he will have three people at each lot to help park cars. A temporary fence surrounds the outside of the stadium, so fans can enter the stadium through the main entrance off Lot B through the main concession stand/restroom building on the home side or off Lot C.
Parking passes are still available at the Memorial High School office and are a one-time fee of $20 for the season for Lot B only, which will give fans access behind the stadium and thus, a shorter walk.

CONCESSIONS
Fans will be ordering food at the concession stands at the home side of the stadium this season and will have some new food to choose.
Concessions will feature Guarnieri’s Pizzeria’s pepperoni pizza, Rider dog, Rider brat, Rider burger, along with options from Dave’s Barbeque, soft pretzel with cheese, nachos and cheese as well as drinks such as Propel, Gatorade, pop, water, coffee and hot chocolate, weather permitting. Concessions will also have suckers, Airheads, candy bars and popcorn.
For grilled sandwiches, fans will receive a ticket after they order and pay and they will redeem that ticket at the Dave’s Barbeque food truck. St. Marys DECA Adviser Heidi Lisi added that the food truck will not be taking any orders, just redeeming tickets.
Dave’s Barbeque will also donate a percentage of its proceeds to the stadium fund.

RULES AND GUIDELINES
The school also released rules and guidelines for home games.
Pets, alcohol, outside food and drinks, electronic noisemakers and weapons are not permitted in the Roughrider Athletic Complex.
Sitting in the reserved section requires a reserved ticket. There is also no smoking, vaping or tobacco products inside, outside or anywhere on the school and complex property.
Re-entry is not allowed — anyone leaving the stadium must have a new unused ticket to re-enter. In addition, all persons entering the facility are subject to search and items may not be stored at or near the gates of the stadium.
There is no running or horseplay on the handicap ramps or walkways in the stands, no use of sports equipment in the meeting areas, no unsupervised children under the age of 10 and no fighting.
Failure to obey the rules may result in removal from the premises.
In celebration of the first home game at the Roughrider Athletic Complex, there will be fireworks for halftime and on St. Marys’ touchdowns.
Friday’s game, like all WBL football games, will begin at 7 p.m.