If you are ever driving down North 56th Street next to the Nebraska Wesleyan University campus, get a glimpse of the latest gem added to Abel Stadium.
Renovations to the press box wrapped up this past week to expand it from one big room with separate booths for coaches to include separate space for as many as four broadcast outlets. Money from the Gardner Foundation helped provide the financing needed to complete the project. An enclosed booth on top of the main booth is provided for TV and other video cameras.
Covering numerous high school and Nebraska Wesleyan football games at Abel Stadium over the years, the old box was cozy and spacing was at a minimum. When I went to cover the Lincoln Christian/Southern game Friday, I was blown away with how much room there is for someone like me to stretch out and not feel like you were in a sardine can.
Phone line and Internet wiring are going to be installed in each separate broadcast booth, making it easier for those of us to help carry games in an easy fashion.
The new press box at Abel Stadium was needed because of constant demand to from radio, TV and Internet outlets to broadcast high school and Nebraska Wesleyan football games. Two radio stations would fit into the old booth for high school games, while TV and one radio station would be inside and another radio station would be on top of the booth under an awning for NWU games. NWU officials knew they needed to upgrade immediately.
Considering that it's still dusty from all the construction, the press box is perfect.
LSE and GI HEADLINE FINAL REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Look for the attention focused on the Lincoln Southeast/Grand Island football game this Friday. It's a road trip for Southeast, who beat Grand Island last year here in Lincoln. But considering the talent level G.I. possesses, the environment at Memorial Stadium (West) may prove to be in the Islanders' favor. It's a game that could ultimately determine the A-1 district champion. Both teams are playoff bound, regardless.
PREP GOING THROUGH GROWING PAINS
Life after the Tom Jaworski era at Omaha Creighton Prep hasn't been too easy. The Junior Jays, under first-year coach Chris Nizzi, have won three games against teams of lesser caliber (Bellevue West, Omaha Bryan and Omaha Northwest) and got another win by forfeit after Millard North had to take losses to three games they originally won because of an ineligible player.
Close connections to the program say a different philosophy is to blame, others claim the talent is young and continues to develop. Nonetheless, the Junior Jays are clinging to keep their season alive.
Prep, the powerhouse football school for years in the state of Nebraska, is now on the cusp of not making the Class A playoffs for the first time since 1994. Since the inception of the playoff system in 1975, Prep has been in the playoffs every year except for four ('75, 1990, 1992, 1994).
The 16-year streak of playoff appearances could come to a screeching halt, if Papillion-LaVista South beats Prep Friday night in the final game of the regular season. Both teams have 4-4 records overall, 2-3 in district competition and are playing for a playoff berth. The game is at Papillion-LaVista South.