• October 23, 2014

‘Home games’ at Hood Stadium draw criticism from fans

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Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 4:27 pm, Wed Oct 22, 2014.

For the first time in a season, the Killeen Kangaroos will bus to Hood Stadium for three games, including Copperas Cove tonight and Waco Midway on Oct. 18. They’ll be considered the away team Oct. 11 against Shoemaker at Fort Hood.

“It’s not home,” said Larry Stokes, whose son plays on Killeen’s junior varsity team.

Killeen hosted Belton at Fort Hood last year, after exclusively using the campus-adjacent Leo Buckley Stadium for Thursday and Friday home games for 32 years.

“It’s very uncomfortable,” said Killeen booster Nilda Chinea. “As part of the booster club, it’s easier for us to have our T-shirts here and sell them. ... What we make is to reinvest in our kids. I don’t understand why (the school district) would do something like that.”

The Killeen Independent School District board of trustees approved a roughly $4,500-per-game lease with Fort Hood partly to avoid Thursday night games, allowing players, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders to study, Killeen ISD Athletic Director Tom Rogers said.

Stokes argued that KISD varsity squads play non-district away games on occasional Thursday nights.

“That dog ain’t hunting with me,” Stokes said. “The JV plays every Thursday night.”

“A junior varsity game does not involve as many kids,” Rogers said. “You don’t have the band, the cheerleaders and the choir singing out there. It’s basically just the football teams.”

Rogers added that some Killeen ISD varsity coaches contribute to JV teams, making it impossible to hold games for both levels on one night.

Field conditions

Leo Buckley Stadium sports field turf, but Hood Stadium features tall natural grass, unnecessarily forcing Killeen players to adjust, said Stokes and Killeen sports photographer Kimberley Williams. Divets and ruts lie beneath the surface.

Killeen coach Sam Jones said landscapers adequately tended to the field.

“Our kids didn’t say anything about it,” said Ellison coach Trent Gregory, whose team played Manor this year at Hood Stadium. “I just thought the (grass) was a little high, but it wasn’t rutted up. I didn’t see any holes or divets or anything.”

One side of seating

In contrast with Leo Buckley, rival fans pack only one sideline of bleachers at Hood, with 300 additional tickets reserved for home fans.

“If we were playing at our own field, we could fill this whole thing up, and have people standing on the sidelines,” Stokes said. “I heard that they were going to put in another set of bleachers last year when we played at (Hood Stadium). Well, it’s been 12 months. They haven’t done anything.”

Killeen ISD has not put a timeline on its plans to install an additional 4,500 seats, Rogers said.

“Us having to take a stadium that is less than adequate isn’t an advantage and if anything, there’s a lot of animosity for us even going out there,” Williams said.

Jones denied any relationship between stadiums and successful teams.

“It’s about playing well and eliminating mistakes, and just playing the game,” he said. “When you get in the playoffs, the stadium doesn’t make a difference. The stadium’s the stadium. It’s what you bring to the stadium (that matters). ... Everything that we’ll do Friday has already been done.”

Safety concerns

Last year, a yellow caution tape was the only barrier dividing opposing fans, Williams said.

“I got some friends that I work with that are big Bulldawg fans and they said they’re not even going, because there are going to be some issues,” Stokes said. “If there are any incidents where anybody gets hurt, I am going to hold the school board responsible for that.”

Rogers said a banner and plastic divider will split opposing fans at tonight’s game. Fort Hood officials ensure order at the stadium, and violence has never been a problem.

“With more people, it might be,” he said. “The crowd out there has pretty much centered themselves around the cheerleaders. They set up on the 20- or 25-yard line.”

Cove and Hood

Cove’s football schedule denotes Hood Stadium as “Dawg East,” which Williams said communicates Copperas Cove’s attempt to annex Hood Stadium as a second home.

Bulldawg coach Jack Welch said fans have merely used the term to refer to any area east of Cove.

“Our home is Bulldawg Stadium in Copperas Cove,” Welch said. “Our home stadium is totally different from Hood Stadium, so it’s definitely going somewhere that is not your home.”

Since the spring, the Bulldawgs have practiced twice at Hood Stadium, where Welch said players are trying to familiarize themselves with their surroundings.

Fort Hood should’ve blocked the team’s access, Stokes said, to legitimately maintain the site’s neutrality. It is unfair to the Roos.

“I really don’t know what to say to those that would say that,” Welch said. “I don’t know how many schools or which schools, but I know they’ve practiced out there, too. So, it’s open to anybody.”

Community role

“The relationship we have with Fort Hood has been really good,” Rogers said. “They have gone out of their way to accommodate anything we’ve asked them to. I think it’s a very pleasant atmosphere.”

Welch said games at Hood Stadium naturally bridge the military communities of Copperas Cove and Killeen.

“It’s here in Killeen, Texas. I’m saying it’s home,” Jones said. “It’s got to be home.”

Clay Whittington contributed to this report.

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10 comments:

  • wilcfry posted at 7:57 am on Thu, Oct 3, 2013.

    wilcfry Posts: 93

    Very true.

    And there's apparently "reserved" seating for hundreds of special fans who don't show up. My wife and I paid $8 apiece to see a game there, and weren't allowed to sit in the (almost completely empty) center section; we had to sit down by the 20 yard line or so.

     
  • texasgoat posted at 5:54 am on Sun, Sep 29, 2013.

    texasgoat Posts: 50

    As a taxpayer, I make adjustments daily to keep my life style within bounds of my income. The days of unlimited school funding is over.

     
  • Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er posted at 8:11 am on Sat, Sep 28, 2013.

    Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er Posts: 238

    I wish Harker Heights could have their own ISD...
    We need another high school here...to much over crowding.

    Someone commented there will soon be another high school in the area...when did that news come out?

    Bring the games back to Leo Buckley...

    As far as, "It is just a football game."...
    In Texas...there is no such thing as "just" a football game. :-)

    ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL...

    LET'S GO KNIGHTS...LET'S GO!

     
  • Van S posted at 11:55 pm on Fri, Sep 27, 2013.

    Van S Posts: 1

    Rob D., Obviously you have no clue what you're talking about so I'll let you slide, visit Killeen before commenting.

    Bubba, see above. visit Killeen before commenting." Play in your own stadium". Perhaps those who post a comment on this story should at least research the problem before taking themselves so seriously. THERE IS ONLY ONE HS STADIUM IN KILLEEN BEING USED BY FOUR HS. Soon to be 5.

    My take on this is, KISD has enough money to build a similar stadium to Leo Buckley either at the HHHS location, the Shoemaker location, or at the new HS being built. With Killeen building another HS, the ISD needs to come up with a solution quick.

    Another stadium in the Killeen area could bring in money during the playoffs as other teams could use them both as a neutral sites.

    I've always wondered how Copperas Cove got the Cen-Tex bowl. How about KISD/COK send in a bid package next year and try to get that game. All it is is revenue if they get it.

     
  • Rob D posted at 5:39 pm on Fri, Sep 27, 2013.

    Rob D Posts: 2

    You all in the HOT have nothing better to do than whine and complain about HS Football stadiums? Come on! If I were running a large school district like Killeen/HH/CC, I would have 1 20,000 seat stadium for all the football teams and have a guy in charge of scheduling to make sure there were no conflicts. Ellison/Killeen/Shoemaker/Harker Heights/Copperas Cove all play each other, so there is 4 opponents for each on a neutral field. Why do we build expensive football stadiums that only see usage in 5+ Varsity, 5+ JV, 5+ Frosh, and maybe some middle school games every year? Seems like a waste of money for 20 days out of 365. Ya'll wasting time with this whole thing. Just show up and play.

     
  • Bubba posted at 2:21 pm on Fri, Sep 27, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 723

    For the love of Christ. It's a high school football game. On the scale of Real World Stuff these events mean exactly zero. Perhaps those involved need to take a reality pill, and stop taking themselves as seriously as they apparently do. Moreover, if you don't want to play on Fort Hood, then don't. Go play in your own stadiums.

     
  • kimek1968 posted at 1:43 pm on Fri, Sep 27, 2013.

    kimek1968 Posts: 1

    Our kids do care what field they play on!! I am at practice every single day and they have been complaining all week. As far as fear, I do not fear anything!! I have been supporting and taking pictures of all Roo sports for 8 years, FOR FREE! Noone pays me to do what I do but I can pretty much guarantee that if your son has a facebook or a instagram, he follows me and has pictures I have taken of him. And if I am not the pulse of the players parents, then what am I? There were a group of us parents in the stands talking about this situation! I am not alone. I have stated on my account this morning that the things I said to the reported/writer were not my words. People that KNOW me know I don't talk like that.

     
  • Roofan1 posted at 1:07 pm on Fri, Sep 27, 2013.

    Roofan1 Posts: 1

    Our kids don't care what field they play on, it's just football! I find this entire story to be untrue, insulting, and reckless. Roo fans and parents go to the games to support our kids, not to cause conflict. I think that Mrs. Williams comments are so out of touch with the spirit of our school. If she is that fearful, stay at home! Mrs. Williams is not the pulse or voice of parents who have kids playing varsity football! FEAR THE ROO FOOTBALL TEAM, NOT THE FANS!

     
  • SirNose posted at 10:46 am on Fri, Sep 27, 2013.

    SirNose Posts: 23

    Guess what Killeen High School, Leo Buckley Stadium is no more of a home field for Ellison, Harker Heights or Shoemaker High Schools.

     
  • MAJAG89 posted at 8:15 am on Fri, Sep 27, 2013.

    MAJAG89 Posts: 54

    Once again, the cracker-jack sports staff at the Copperas Cove Cheering Section (formerly known as KDH) has missed the point of the FANS criticism of Hood stadium.
    Coach Jones was very polite and gracious in his answers to the suitability of Hood Stadium and its effect or non-effect on the teams' performances. Bravo Coach.
    The truth is Hood Stadium is unacceptable in its current configuration to host 5A football. It's just barely susitable to qualify as a decent middle school field.
    The stadium itself is difficult to access and depart due it its location on Fort Hood. There is ONLY one route into and out of the stadium. Common sense and safety dictates there should be two. It is impossible to evacuate that facility in a hurry if the need every arose.
    With only one set of bleachers not only are both home and away fans on top of each other, having only one set of bleachers limits the number of fans who can attend. Also while both sets of fans tend to center on the cheerleaders at the 25, who in thier right mind thinks the 25 yard line is optimal viewing for a football game?
    The seating is also all wrong. Whoever installed the solid plastic blue seats has never played in a band or been short. Anyone under 5ft 6 spends the entire game with their feet dangling because their feet can't touch the floor. The drum sections and trombones from each band have to stand at the bottom of the bleachers the entire game while playing because their instruments don't fit in the seats and there is no space available between seats to move.
    The concession stands are a joke. There aren't enough outlets and amperage for the booster clubs to sell hot concessions. In fact popcorn is sold by the bag and patrons are forced to wait while the booster pop one bag at a time in the one microwave the concession stand supports. it is common to see peopel wait 10-15 minutes AFTER they pay for it to get popcorn.
    Leo Buckley is three times the facility Hood Stadium is and should be. It is not an acceptable substitute for a "home" game for KISD students.
    Especially given the fact that all four KISD JV teams play at a larger and better facility than the varsity teams that are forced to play at Hood.
    Finally considering that Hood stadium is closer to Cove than every KISD school with the exception of Shoemaker, it's really no wonder that Cove fans call it Dawg East.
    When has a home team ever had to travel farther to play a visiting team from outside their home school district? Only the KISD board would consider that fair and equal "home" game experience.
    Hood Stadium is a joke and a embarrassment to the students and parents of KISD.

     

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