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09/02/2018 - From The Press Box: Let's Talk New Football Field, New Press Box
From The Press Box

Okay, let me preface things first. 

I don't want you to see the headline and think, "Oh Jeff Motz has flipped his lid if he thinks Lincoln needs a new football field and press box.  Sounds like he's not happy with Seacrest Field."

Absolutely, 100% far from the truth.

When they renovated Seacrest in 2015, LPS turned that place into a palace for high school football, soccer and the Cornhusker State Games.

In my opinion, Seacrest Field is the best high school football facility in the state.  Granted, I've never done a game at legendary Jug Brown Stadium in Falls City (on my bucket list, by the way) but I will add that some Class A facilities need a face lift.

Take the following for example.

After Friday night's Lincoln High/Grand Island football game at the Beechner Athletic Complex, I finally came to the conclusion that, YES, Lincoln needs another high school football stadium and Beechner needs a brand new press box.

The game drew a capacity crowd (roughly 1,700) to Beechner.  It was the biggest game being covered outside of Omaha last Friday.  Although, Lincoln Southwest and Lincoln Southeast, which has been the traditional big draw in town each season, had a far bigger crowd at Seacrest the same night. 

Since LHS and GISH were "the headliner", media coverage was abundant.  Our website, plus a Grand Island radio station and the state's two largest newspapers are assigned together into one booth space. You had one cramped work area for everyone.

My spot happened to be next to a door that leads into where the PA announcer and scorekeeper are located.  The door opened quite a bit and I found myself getting interrupted from my work to get up and move for people to get out.

It wasn't exactly the coziest place to be.  But, understand this---it was a game everyone wanted to cover.

Lincoln High and LPS officials realize more space is needed.  I feel sorry for them when people like myself and others want to come out to cover their school, there is limited space for everyone. 

At Friday night's game, a TV crew from Grand Island had to set up on the east side of Beechner and their play-by-play crew was outside.  Just think if the thunderstorms we had late that night moved through much earlier in the evening. They would have been scrambling to cover up expensive equipment.

I haven't read too much into what the potential bond would include, other than a middle school and high school.

Other Class A schools are finding themselves in a similar situation with their media facilities.

Recently, Millard Public Schools have put forth the effort to build a new press box at Buell Stadium.  But if there is one stadium that definitely needs new media accommodations, it's Omaha Burke.  Especially, since it's been the home of the State Track Meet for years and you have numerous media outlets from all over Nebraska covering the two-day event.  

Media coverage of high school sports, somehow, has been increasing in recent years when the "trend" of interest seemed to be declining.  If there is more demand from organizations in radio, TV, print and Internet to cover local teams each weekend during the fall, the question remains if additional space is needed in a press box or if another field is absolutely needed.

But, as Lincoln grows, I think it's feasible to at least build another football stadium to accommodate everyone's needs.  Seacrest will always be the hot spot for big games involving city teams and highly touted programs from outside Lincoln.

I'm sure we'll learn more about the bond in the weeks and months to come, but all of us in the press box at Lincoln High on Friday night all agreed that more space is needed, if we're going to be covering more games at Beechner in the future.  Also, another field should be on the horizon with the possibility of another LPS high school being added, increasing demand for playing space.

Seacrest Field serves as the blue print to meet our needs.  LPS hit a home run with the upgrade and could do the same with other land they own around the city in order to meet specific needs for the players, coaches, fans, workers and media.

LPS officials have gone above and beyond to help us in the media provide coverage of local sports.  Speaking for myself here, I've had a great working relationship with the district office in lining up space for broadcast use on radio and Internet.

The Lincoln Journal Star and other radio and TV outlets, perhaps, feel the same way.

I suppose that if one of us in the media were to hit the lottery, I'm sure money from one of us would be donated toward new facilities or upgrades. 

I know I would do it.

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Me at Seacrest Field on August 21, testing out equipment in our favorite radio booth.  LPS officials knew what we needed for spacing and came through in the clutch.  Truly a gem to work in every Friday during the fall!

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Over the weekend, Lincoln Southwest slugger Emma Kauf became the state's career home runs leader in softball, hitting her 41st round tripper on Saturday in the sixth inning against Papillion-LaVista at the Papillion-LaVista Invite.

Kauf, a Georgia Tech commit, hit the homer despite a 10-2 loss as the Silver Hawks went 2-1 over the weekend.  She began her high school career at Papillion-LaVista South as a freshman, where she hit two home runs, before moving to Lincoln and transferring to Southwest as a sophomore.

Kauf's mark of 41 career homers broke the old mark of 40 set by Lincoln Southeast's Madison Otte in 2016.

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