Eleven games into the football season, and Benny Watkins Field is showing some wear.
The field, which will be the site of Friday’s playoff game between Franklin County and Central, has been getting some attention on social media for the condition it’s in.
“It’s playable,” FCHS head football coach Eddie James said. “We’ve got some guys coming in to blow the snow off and get it ready to play. We’ve done a lot of work, but there are some other things that need to be done long-term to the facility.”
Besides the FCHS football team, Elkhorn Middle School and the Franklin County Rams of the Franklin County Youth Football also use Benny Watkins Field.
“They don’t play much on it,” James said of the Rams, “and they’re not heavy enough to do anything to it.”
The Elks play three to four games on the field, and this season the Flyers have had five games. Friday’s will be the sixth, thanks to FCHS winning its regular-season district title for home field advantage through the regional finals.
“As you go deeper in the playoffs, it’s harder on the field, but there are a lot of people working hard to make a difference,” James said.
“(Franklin County superintendent) Mark Kopp and others are trying to make some changes happen to the field. The main thing is to get it on the facilities plan. Whether it’s sod and reseed or (synthetic) turf, just something to make it hold up longer.
“I don’t envy their job, doing this with taxpayers’ money.”
The condition of Benny Watkins Field hasn’t set well with some FCHS fans.
“This is three of our coaches filling in holes on the field, with a bucket of dirt and a shovel,” Staci Webb Justice posted online to explain a photo. “This was done so that the field would be safe to play on. Doing this is a common occurrence before games, and has been for many years.
“This just goes to show that our coaches care about all of the players on the field more than the school board, because if they did we would have turf field and our coaches would not be out there filling in the holes!!!”
James said the field will be ready for Friday’s game, which will kick off at 7:30 p.m. When FCHS and Central played on Oct. 25 in Louisville, Franklin County won 14-12 to claim the No. 1 see in the district.
"This may be the BIGGEST game ever played at Benny Watkins field!!!!" James posted on Twitter Sunday. "We need you all there!!!!! 7:30 Friday Night!!!!"
And James expects Benny Watkins Field to be ready for its sixth Flyer game of the season.
“It’ll be fine,” he said. “Looking at the forecast, it’s supposed to be warmer and dry on Friday, and that’ll give the field a chance to dry out a little bit.”