End of an Era: Lights Out for Seneca Valley Stadium
On Thursday night, Seneca Valley High School held the last ever official sporting event on at the stadium field. The 7:00 pm boys lacrosse game between the Seneca Valley Screamin’ Ealges and the Wheaton Knights was the final game on the field, as the school begins to ready for construction to begin on a new Seneca Valley High School which will be centered on the land which is now the stadium.
Thousands of students have participated in Montgomery County Public School sponsored interscholastic sporting events on that field over the last four decades, and now the lights of the stadium have been darkened forever.
The stadium which opened a year after the school, in 1975 has hosted hundreds of sporting events over the 41 years since it opened. Sports including boys and girls lacrosse and field hockey, soccer matches, as well as track meets, and of course football games have been played in that stadium
Screamin’ Eagles Stadium is hallowed football ground. It saw the home team win 197 times, for a winning percentage of 82.4. The field hosted 41 playoff football games, of which Seneca won 23, on the way to winning 12 State Championships.
“Yesterday was emotional,” said Seneca Valley Athletic Director Jesse Irvin. “Even though I have only been a part of the school for 13 years, anyone that has ever attended or worked at Seneca Valley understands what it means to be a part of that stadium. The blood, sweat, and tears that have been shared, the friendships bonded, the lifelong relationships made while attending or playing on that field span several decades. There is a deep emotional attachment that many have, that I don’t believe is matched in the county or many other places in this state or beyond.”
Due to a twist of fate, last night’s lacrosse games weren’t even technically Seneca Valley home games. The Eagles were visitors at the own field as they hosted Wheaton, who are playing all of their games on the road this season as their new field is being constructed after a new Wheaton High School opened at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.
So fittingly, one team whose school and fields are at the end of a rebuilding period was the “home team” while visiting a school — which will undergo a rebuild beginning this summer — to play the final game on the field. Wheaton defeated Seneca Valley 14-4.
“I would be lying if I said a tear or two wasn’t shed yesterday when walking the field and leaving the field for the last time,” said Irvin.
Seneca Valley sports teams, except basketball and volleyball which play indoors, will be playing all games on the road games for the next several years as a new school and fields are constructed at the site. Construction is expected to begin in August.
Photos courtesy Seneca Valley High School.