Tremendous turf

Stocker's new surface garnering rave reviews

Central High School and Grand Junction High school prepare to meet in a football game on the new turf field under the lights as the sun sets in the distance.



The new turf at Stocker Stadium is the star of this year’s football season.



The shiny new artificial turf at Stocker Stadium has made a big impact on area football teams.

Now with several games having been played on the new surface, the effects have been visible. For Colorado Mesa University, that meant sharper cuts and fewer players slipping. The football took truer hops on punts and fewer rubber grains were kicked up.

Players planted and made cuts, turning the football easily upfield in a lopsided win over Western State. It was the first of four games over three days at the stadium.

On the prep side, players commented on the bounce in the turf. New artificial turf has some give to it, making it easier on the body’s joints when a player is tackled.

Grand Junction High School football player Dante Gonzalez said he could feel the difference when he hit the turf in pads.

“We all love it,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a lot softer than the last one. Not torn up as much, no dips or anything like that. Not hurting yourself when you go down.”

Central kicker Royce McElwain said it benefits special teams play.

“There’s a very noticeable difference with the new turf,” McElwain said. “The old turf had been, I guess, kicked at so much where PATs are that they had to put in patches of turf that was a good two inches above the old stuff, which made it super hard to judge kicks. Then, with just running and planting my foot, the old turf was harder than a rock and made things hard to plant. The new turf has a lot more cushioning and sort of a bounce to it.”

The turf was installed this past summer to replace the old surface, which was installed in 2007 and was two years past its life expectancy of eight years when it was removed.

Grand Junction’s Parks Improvement Advisory Board put up $200,000 of the $516,934 to replace approximately 90,000 square feet of turf at Stocker, which included new goal posts and repairing some of the drainage system.

On Friday, Stocker Stadium plays host to the valley’s biggest rivalry in Fruita Monument and Grand Junction.

Wildcats coach Todd Casebier, after his team ran all over Discovery Canyon, said they practiced on the new turf once prior to the start of the season. He downplayed the differences in the turf, but said it’s a privilege to play at such a nice facility.

“The guys didn’t really say much to me about it, but we practiced here a couple weeks ago and we know we have a great facility,” Casebier said. “We definitely appreciate the folks who paid for the new turf. It’s a great venue for our kids and our fans and I think it’s one of the best places to play in Colorado. It’s going to be a great atmosphere next week.”


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