Ray Stadium might be quiet now, but a week from tonight it will be packed for Meridian High's first football game of the season. The question on everyone's mind is will the stadium renovations be completed by next Friday?
Guin Kendrick, vice-president of marketing for EnviroTurf, says, "My guys are working as hard as they can to get everything ready and in time, and so we're staying on our knees praying and installing the turf at the same time."
Kendrick won't commit to a hard timetable, but believes everything will be done before the game against Clinton. Once the turf is installed, the Wildcats will have a state-of-the-art playing surface.
"They'll never miss a game because of rain. Lightning will stop you, but our fields are built to drain. They'll drain about 10 inches of water an hour. The average front yard is about 7 percent permeable. This is about 22 percent," Kendrick describes.
The same company that is installing this turf here at Ray Stadium also installed the turf at the University of West Alabama and also at East Mississippi Community College. Both have gone on to win championships since their turf was installed. Now the turf is only part of the equation. You also need the support from the community.
Craig Houston, secretary of the Meridian Alumni Football Club and former Wildcat player, says "When I came through - 84, 85, 86 - we have a lot of backers. I mean, we had people that did things for us. And you know, as times have gone on, as financial times have hardened, we just wanted to give back and give the kids some of the things that we had, some of the support that we had."
The Meridian Alumni Football Club supports the team with pre- and post-game meals. The club meets every first Wednesday at 6pm at Beef O'Brady's.