By Nick Pellegrino
April 13, 2017 (Santee) -- The first football stadium in the country with a two-toned, artificial playing surface will "field" a new look for the 2017-18 school year.
West Hills High School Stadium, which gained national attention with its one-of-a-kind, double-blue playing field, recently saw its old, worn field removed following nearly 10 seasons, to be replaced by a modern version of FieldTurf product for Wolf Pack athletics and other events.
The old carpet was torn out over the weekend (Apr. 8-9), with workers now in the process of installing the new surface, Following a brief settling period, school administrators believe the field could be ready for graduation ceremonies in June should Viejas Arena at San Diego State University should not be available.
Meanwhile, useful parts of the old surface, like the area beyond the football end zones, will remain on campus as part of an updated look for the varsity baseball field.
Wolf Pack baseball head coach Mickey Deutschman, who also is the long-time owner/manager of the San Diego Stars semipro baseball field, is utilizing heavy equipment from his private ballpark on the Barona Indian Reservation to re-use the turf on the high school diamond.
The "Wolf Pack" logo is slated to be placed between home plate and the backstop, while foul territory between the infield and the dugouts will also to carpeted, along with the batting cages and bullpens. None of fair territory on the diamond will get carpet, remaining either grass or dirt.
Every major American news service wrote about West Hills' unique, two-toned field when it was first introduced. However, when two-toned fields cropped up at Missouri's Lindenwood University (gray and maroon) and Central Arkansas University (gray and purple), officials with various organizations actually changed the rules of football and effectively ended the installation of any new two-toned field.
(Interestingly, former Wolf Pack quarterback Philip Staback later started for Lindenwood, leading the Lions to a Top 20 national ranking, earning a berth on the 2010 NAIA All-America Team, as voted by the American Football Coaches Association.)
The first, non-traditional green field was all-blue "Smurf turf" first installed at Boise State University. However, wanting to be unique,officials with the Broncos took the unusual step by gaining a copyright for the phrase "blue turf" in 2008.
Not to be outdone, Chaminade High in West Hills, Calif. (not our local school, but the one in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles County), avoided legal action by calling its field's color "Florida Blue."