Kennard-Dale and night football games
Throughout the last few weeks, I'd heard rumblings about these almost mythical Kennard-Dale night football games of the 1950s. A comment here. An email there. After doing a little digging, it turns out that Kennard-Dale did indeed host at least one night football game before tonight's scheduled contest with West York at North Harford Middle School in Maryland. The year was 1959. Three members of that squad -- two players and one coach -- all confirmed that the night game did happen. The school bought in portable lights for a game that year against Hempfield. The rest of the details are somewhat sketchy. The date is believed to be Oct. 3. Kennard-Dale is believed to have lost. And there may or may not have been night games in the years that followed. But the home night game in 1959 was the first for Kennard-Dale. Here are few memories from that game from the team members I caught up with: - John Bach, 81, was the coach of that team. More than anything, he remembers the heavy rain that never seemed to let up. "It rained that night. It poured," he said. "Once they contracted for the lights, you had to play the game. We still had a good crowd. With no fence, people were on an honor to pay for their ticket. And most of them did." - Reed Anderson, 68, was a senior quarterback and safety in 1959. He recalled the rain, too, but also the fact that portable lighting left something to be desired. "The lights were probably only 20 feet high," he said. "If you got into the corners of the field, inside the 15 or the 20-yard line, you couldn't see a thing." - Jim Hershey was also a senior on that team, and played defensive end and offensive line. He agreed with Anderson on the lack of lighting. "Sometimes it was hard to see the ball," he said. Hershey also said he believes the class after him played a night game, but he couldn't be sure. Can't you just picture the scene? Heavy rain coming down. Players in old-time uniforms chewing up the dimly lit turf. Fans in rain coats standing all around the field. It sounds like something out of movie. At the very least, the players in tonight's game should have the benefit of proper lighting. Speaking of tonight's game... Rams looking to limit mistakes Really, the question for the Kennard-Dale team all season has been, "Can they get out of their own way?" Through seven games, the Rams have committed 24 turnovers. Only one other team has committed more than 20, that being Fairfield (22). Needless to say, Kennard-Dale cannot afford turnovers against an always opportunistic West York squad. "One, we got to stop killing ourselves," Rams coach Andy Loucks said. "We've turned the football over entirely too much this year. That's something WY has done, they've made their opponents turn the ball over this year. "Against Big Spring, we didn't punt the ball one time, but we turned the ball over every time we were inside the 25-yard line." The good news? Kennard-Dale (3-4) has won two in a row, and even with a loss Friday would still have a decent chance to earn a third straight district playoff berth. A 5-5 record would probably get the Rams in. Plus, they'll have the added motivation of playing the school's first home night game in close to 50 years. "I think for the kids and us, we're kind of keeping a little bit of a level head," Loucks said of the night game. "Everybody else is going nuts though. "We're just trying to focus on the big picture of having to play West York. I'm sure they're excited about it now, but we're trying to downplay it."