New field will build pride at Northeast

By Toriano Porter PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: September 10, 2015 - 4:46 PM

After a tough 51-point loss last Friday to Lexington, Northeast returned to school Tuesday with somewhat of a reprieve.

The Chiefs Community Caring Team, in conjunction with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the NFL Grassroots Grant Program, awarded a $200,000 grant to Kansas City Public Schools to replace the Vikings’ football field, located in Kansas City’s historic Northeast neighborhood.

KCPS will use the grant to help fund the installation of a synthetic turf surface at the Northeast campus as part of a larger revitalization project, which includes the new turf, sidewalks, security system, bleachers, lighting, parking and a storage facility.

The stadium will be used for high school and middle school football, field days and class, as well as school, community and neighborhood sports leagues.

Additionally, the district was awarded a $25,000 ESPN amenities grant to install a new scoreboard as part of the project, a fact not lost on Vikings head coach Kevin Bair.

“We had a tough night against Lexington, but our kids came back this week for the JV game with a renewed focus and attitude,” Bair said. “We saw some good things happen, and with the phenomenal news coming from the Kansas City Chiefs and LISC about the grant money for a new artificial turf field at Northeast, the morale around the team and the school has improved. 

“It definitely helps get people excited when Derrick Johnson and Jason Avant come to your school and your practice, and they spoke with our kids about dealing with adversity and related well to our athletes.  It was amazing to see both of those guys willing to take time out of their busy schedule to help kids in the community, especially during opening week of the NFL season.”

Bair added the Viking players are definitely excited about the new field.

“It definitely puts some pressure on us to perform, but I really think our players are up for the challenge,” he said. “We have a good group of young guys who, if they continue to work hard and stay focused, have a lot of potential for the next few years.” 

Looking down the road, Bair said, a new turf field at Northeast is definitely going to benefit the program. 

“It creates excitement, and these kids in the school will want to be a part of something special,” he said. “The new field is going to give our kids, our school, and our community something to be proud of, and that sense of pride and ownership is not only going to help build this program, but it's going to permeate throughout the school, making all of Northeast High better, too.”

The Vikings, 1-2 overall and 1-0 in Interscholastic League play, played host to Pembroke Hill, 1-2, Thursday night at IL Stadium.

In other IL news, two-time defending champion Lincoln Prep look to rebound after the Blue Tigers were handled on the road at Oak Grove in a 50-14 Week 3 loss.

The Blue Tigers were down 23-14 late in the first half.

“Our defense allowed a score with a minute to go in the half and we never recovered,” head coach Henry Newell said. “The second half was a poor showing of Tiger football. We threw three picks in the second half that led to 21 points.”

Lincoln Prep’s running game was productive with 248 yards on 28 carries.

Travis Martin rushed for 155 on 14 carries including two long scoring runs.

This week, the Blue Tigers, 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the IL, play another undefeated team in Center, 3-0.

“Center is extremely athletic,” Newell said. “It will be another test for our team. I think we are improving from week to week. We really need a win. We are not use to being 1-2 but we think our schedule we help us down the road.”

Southwest Early College Campus handled Wentworth Military Academy 48-0 for their first win of the season.  Southwest had a total of 478 yards of offense and recorded its first shut out of the season.

“I think we prepared well, and overall had a solid performance,” head coach Roger Franks said. “We still have areas that need improvement; tackling, penalties, toughness, and discipline. We need to conquer those four barriers before becoming a true competitor.”

The Indians, 1-1, will host undefeated Hogan Prep, 3-0, Saturday at IL Stadium.

“When you play Hogan you’re playing a tradition,” Franks said. “If you can get over that, you have a chance. We can’t give them 14 points just because they are Hogan.”