Pisgah High stadium update: Football team will play all road games in 2022

·3 min read

The Pisgah High School football and boys soccer teams are planning to play a second consecutive season without a home stadium due to damage last summer from Tropical Storm Fred.

After 10 months of documentation, insurance filings, project proposals and flood mitigation approval, a plan for AstroTurf to install a new playing surface at Pisgah Memorial Stadium was approved earlier this month, athletic director Heidi Morgan said.

Work can begin once AstroTurf's team and the materials become available, and is expected to take about four months. At that point, the field can be used to practice, but repairs to electrical systems, bathrooms and concession stands will need to be completed before the stadium can reopen for games.

Those projects aren't expected to be completed in time for the fall season.

"We were certainly hopeful to be back in the stadium, but that doesn't look like that will be the case," football coach Brett Chappell said. "We've gone through this before. It's nothing the kids haven't seen or done."

Last season, the football team played its designated home games at neutral sites, including Enka, Erwin and Tuscola. This year, the Black Bears will visit their opponent's field every week.

That includes the Oct. 14 Haywood County Clash, which Pisgah was scheduled to host this season. Instead, the game will be played at Tuscola for the second consecutive year, though Pisgah will receive the revenue from ticket sales and concessions, helping preserve the backbone of the athletic department budget.

Playing the rivalry game at a local college stadium was considered but ultimately decided against.

"It didn't make a whole lot of sense to take that game out of the county," Morgan said. "Tuscola has a perfectly good stadium, and we're able to use it, so why not host it there and make it as Pisgah-like as possible."

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Chappell said playing a neutral site game at Tuscola for senior night is also a possibility, to keep the game closer to his players' families.

"We're looking at some different possibilities," Chappell said, "but for the most part, we understand we will not be here in our home stadium."

The Black Bears have been without a home since last August, when roughly 14 inches of rain flooded the Pigeon River, killed six people and damaged more than 450 homes and businesses.

Despite the travel and a barrage of injuries in 2021, Pisgah went 10-2. Chappell said that experience makes another year on the road less daunting.

"We've kind of grown accustomed to how we're going to have to move forward," Chappell said. "If we're fortunate enough that things fall into place and we may be able to get a [home] game or two before the season's over, great.

"If not, we'll do the best we can do with what we've got."

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Pisgah High stadium update: Football will play all road games in 2022