For the first time in 2013 the Salem High football team will put on their red jerseys tomorrow afternoon, signifying them as the ‘home’ team in their game against Winthrop.
But they’ll be doing so in a city that for more than 100 years has been known as enemy territory.
With the Witches’ Bertram Field in the final stages of a major renovation and not completely ready yet, they’ll instead travel across the Memorial Bridge and take to the grass at Hurd Stadium in Beverly for their ‘home’ opener.
“We’re so thankful to Beverly High School and the city of Beverly for giving us this opportunity to host a home game,” said Salem head coach Scott Connolly, who doubles as the school’s athletic director. “It’s a neighboring town being very generous and helping us out.
“James (Coffey, the Beverly High AD) and I have a great relationship, and knowing what we had going on over at Bertram, he said to me earlier this year ‘If you need to use Hurd as a home site, we can accomodate you.’ It just so happens this Saturday was open, so we jumped at it.’
Getting the chance to play a ‘home’ game means the senior class at Salem High gets to keep the concession money, which go towards costs for Senior Week and the Senior Prom, among others according to Connolly. It’ll also be Salem’s gate, another much needed perk. (Salem had to change its original home opener two weeks ago against Marblehead over to Piper Field in Marblehead).
Most importantly, Hurd Stadium is also a field virtually all of the Salem High players are familiar with, having played there in youth football or at the high school level.
“We took a team vote before we made a decision to do this or not, and the vote was unanimous,” said Connolly. “No one blinked an eye. And Winthrop was great about it, too; they understand our situation.”