By Pam Dudding
This year marks five decades that the Craig County Football team has made the community proud. Many locals feel that a celebration is warranted.
Rewinding time, the New Castle Rockets was the teams’ first name, as the school was in town. When the new school high school was built outside of town limits, they changed it to the Craig County Rockets.
The new “returning” coach, Jimmy Fisher said, “This is the 50th Rocket Football Team. We will acknowledge and celebrate these 50 years of Rockets all season long. Call me at 540-598-6706 if you want to be a part of this team or if you would like to make a donation to the football team.”
Some Craig residents have already responded with fervor.
For the last two Saturday’s, volunteers have shown up to clean and fix the Craig County Football area.
Randy Frango, a volunteer and football dad to Brayden, helped to organize the massive feat.
“I went to Jimmy, the head coach, when he accepted the coaching position and volunteered my help in any way he needed and he said he wanted to get the football facility looking good, that it needed a lot of work and he wanted me to get some people together to paint and pressure wash everything,” Frango said.
The first workday was August 21 and nearly 20 people showed up to work.
“Some were players, some grandparents, some were parents as well as three coaches,” Frango said. “Also, we had three different people to show up that didn’t have a family member on the team.”
The next Saturday, August 28, about a dozen people showed up to continue the tasks.
“I don’t want to try to name people because I will miss someone and I don’t want anyone to feel left out,” Frango said.
There was much to be done, including cleaning out the concession stand, painting all the buildings and the benches, mowing and weed eating.
Added Frango, “None of this would be happening if not for Jimmy. He has come into the head coaching role on fire to improve the facility and the football program. But most of all, he is investing in our kids as a positive and encouraging coach and role model.”
People are excited to have Jimmy as our coach and excited to have football back. We haven’t had this level of leadership in our sports at Craig County in my 50 years.
Teacher Amanda Lucas, with her husband Jason, son Matthew (who is a football player), and her daughter Makenzie, all have volunteered. “My family did a lot of painting and mowing,” Lucas shared. “The sprayer was a life-saver.”
Though, they had to hand paint around the lettering on the front of the press box.
They and others painted the press box, concession stand and the bathrooms, cleaned the concession stand, pressure-washed the bleachers, painted the benches and mowed the field.
Danny Owens and Roland Donithan took on the tedious job of trying to find all of the pegs hidden in the ground so that the football field could be properly marked for the upcoming games.
“We’re painting this field on Monday, so we need to find all these pegs, so we can run a string to set the lines. The ones in the endzone will be hard to find,” Owens said.
Chris Haynes and Matthew Lucas were working diligently on hand-painting the front of the press box, as they had to use caution around the Walton Mitchell letters.
Within two weekends, though all isn’t complete yet, the field looked green, lush and ready for action. The buildings have been painted bright again, as if to say, “Let’s go Rockets!”
Still, there is more to do, and more volunteers are welcome to join in on Saturdays until everything is complete.
“We will be working again this Saturday starting at 9 a.m. and will continue until we get everything painted,” Frango explained. “We still have a lot to do, especially painting and staining.”
Also, they are looking for volunteers to sign up to work concession stand for all home football games, both middle school and varsity, except for October 8, which will be worked by the cheerleader parents.
People can contact the school or Coach Jimmy Fisher with any donations.
Follow the Craig County Rockets Football on Facebook to keep up with the team and what’s going on. “We hope to see you at the games, cheering on our Rocket team!”
Everyone is encouraged to join the Craig County Rockets home opener this Friday at 7 p.m.