The Little Rock School District is digging out of a "field fail" at McClellan High.
After thousands of dollars spent in renovations to the football field — the grass is not safe to play on.
Thus the Crimson Lions have played all its games on the road this season, and while they powered their way to a 5-1 record, district officials are still frustrated over the inconvenience and the wasted money.
“I'm frustrated and this is to the superintendent level and I'm disappointed,” said Superintendent Mike Poore, who can add watching grass grow to the list of things he has to worry about each day. “We don't have a field to the level that it should be and I'm not happy about it and we're trying to remedy it.”
McClellan got the money to renovate its field last year, hiring contractors to refurbish the press box, sound system and Wi-Fi. The big bucks went into putting a better crown on the field and a new drainage system. The first attempt did not work.
“We've actually had two contractors on this project,” said Poore. “The first contractor we have not paid because we don't feel we like we got to a point that we feel like took care of this situation."
On a breezy fall day, dust kicks up from some of the bare spots and ruts in the field.
“We're a run oriented team and we like to set up the pass through play action,” said Maurice Moody, the Crimson Lions head coach. “It is what it is. We haven't even thought about it. We're going to play no matter where we have to.”
Moody's main disappointment has been that his seniors had to miss out on so many home games. The superintendent has reached out personally.
“I've apologized to Coach Moody before and I'll do it again publicly and to our community because this is disappointing,” he said.
Moore estimates the price tag for the field fumble at around $20,000. Despite the ruts on the field, the team has practiced on the gridiron to test it out. They play on the road Oct. 13, but Moody thinks it should be ready for the next scheduled home game Oct. 20.