Lowell-West Side sectional game moved to ECC
By Mike Hutton 613-0141 or email@example.com. Twitter:@MikeHuttonPT October 17, 2013 2:58PM
Gary West Side's Jason Johnson during varsity football practice held at the school in Gary, Ind., Tuesday, August 2, 2011. | Guy Rhodes~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 19, 2013 6:32AM
The first-round sectional game on Oct. 25 between Lowell and West Side has been moved to East Chicago.
On Thursday evening, the Gary School Board approved the proposal from East Chicago to host the game.
The game was moved after Lowell officials complained about the field conditions at West Side. As far as West Side principal Terrence Little knew, no one from Lowell had ever visited the field.
Assistant IHSAA commissioner Robert Faulkens inspected the field on Wednesday and said there were multiple issues — the lights in one end zone didn’t work, there was no 25 second clock and the visitors locker room was too small and unkempt to accommodate the whole Lowell team. Lowell officials had offered to host the game, something West Side opposed.
Little said the only problem that wasn’t fixable was the 25-second clock, which West Side has never had.
“We just didn’t want to put something makeshift up,” he said. “It would’ve involved wires everywhere. We just didn’t want to do that.”
The Cougars have hosted five tournament games in four seasons and no other team had complained about playing there.
Little said it was “understandable” Lowell would want to play at a field with a 25-second clock.
According to Little, the lights were already in the process of being fixed and the only issue with the locker room was that it was cluttered because there was football equipment in it. He said it would’ve been cleaned up by the time Lowell came.
“I’m happy we were able to come to an agreement,” he said.
Little said he was assured by Faulkens that the Cougars could host a game if they advance in the tournament and the other team doesn’t object.
Little was actually happy to move the game to East Chicago in this respect: The Cardinals have field turf and it’s much more conducive to their wide-open style of play than it will be for the Red Devils. They have several Division I players, like Lonnie Johnson, Ramone Atkins and Jon Vea’Johnson, who can use their speed to their advantage on turf.