Delhi pumped for Friday Night Lights

1,000 expected at DDSS for clash with Titans

The Delhi Raiders football club is pumped now that Friday Night Lights is on against the Holy Trinity Titans. Veteran Raiders prepping for their third Friday night game include, front from left, Nathan Dobbie, Zack Faria and Adam Leatherland. At quarterback is Jaxson Zurby. Monte Sonnenberg / Simcoe Reformer

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DELHI – Staff and students at Delhi District Secondary School want the community to know that Friday Night Lights is alive and well and ready for kick-off.

Organizers entertained the possibility of cancelling Friday night’s football game last week due to labour unrest in the education system.

However, once word was received that the Ford government and the union representing education support workers had reached a new collective agreement, preparations for the game resumed in earnest.

“This is a family-friendly event that everyone can attend,” Raiders football coach David Leatherland said during a practice at DDSS Wednesday.

“We want to showcase local talent. There is a lot of pride in this community in this school. I can’t tell you how excited our students and our football team are. There is just so much anticipation.”

That enthusiasm is contagious. The Holy Trinity coaching staff has told Leatherland their players are also jazzed about the prospect of playing in front of 1,000 people under the lights. Holy Trinity has been practising hard and would like nothing more than handing the formidable Raiders a loss on home turf.

Veteran Raiders who have had the Friday Night experience say it never gets old.

“We had 1,000 fans in here last year,” says Raiders quarterback Jaxson Zurby. “When you have them cheering you on, it’s a great atmosphere. Knowing we have the town behind us is special.”

Like the NFL Super Bowl, Friday Night Lights is a social happening wrapped around a football game. Kickoff is 8 p.m. but the gates open at 6:30 p.m.

“Honestly, I love it,” says Raiders lineman Zack Faria.  “It’s such a surreal feeling. It’s a crazy experience having the whole town behind you. It’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. It’s one of those things that makes you part of this team long after you are gone.”

The Raiders have looked strong in their first two outings this year. They’d like to win Friday Night Lights as well as the Norfolk Bowl in recognition of Leatherland’s 20th season as a coach.

Sideshows at Friday’s game include a performance by the Delhi Raiders cheerleading team. The tyke Steelheads will also put on a scrimmage.

Tickets at the gate are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Proceeds help support athletic programming at DDSS.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

 

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