This year’s varsity football season where the Mansfield Tigers play all their home games at Newsom Stadium while the Legacy Broncos only have one home game at the newer arena has some community members scratching their heads.
“This year is a strange deal when you have one schools playing six games at Newsom and one school playing one game at Newsom,” trustee Raul Gonzalez said. “It really blared out a lot this year.”
Mansfield has five home games at Newsom and one away game against Summit at Newsom.
Athletic Director Debbie Weems gave a presentation to the school board about how the district creates the football schedule and how it decides what games are played at which stadium.
“Scheduling varsity football is a big deal and it takes a great deal of time on our part to get it done,” Weems said. “Most people don’t want to know about all of those little itty, bitty pieces that make a big puzzle fit.”
Weems explained the process, which starts every two years with re-classification and re-alignment. Once the district knows the schools classifications, like 6A or 5A, it invites other districts and their coaches to work out schedules.
The University Interscholastic League also requires the districts to draw how many home and away games each school will have for a couple of years. Once a school has its home-to-away schedule that ratio is flipped for the following year. For example, in the 2014 season Legacy High School had six home games and four away games, but in the 2015 season it has four home games and six away.
Weems said the MISD tries to work with other districts to select the number of home versus away games.
The district then looks at several factors to decide where the home games will be played, including the size of the opponent’s program, support groups, fans and bands.
“We have worked every year to make the very best decisions that we can,” Weems said. “We have a standard we can look at by which we will make decisions.”
Weems urged community members to understand that the district works with a two-year schedule so while Legacy High School only has one game at Newsom Stadium this year, it had five games at the newer stadium last year and has only had one Thursday game in the past two seasons.
“Last year Legacy didn’t have any problems because they had five home games over here [Newsom Stadium] and one game at RLA and they were all on Friday nights,” she said. “They had a great schedule.”
School board president Michael Evans stressed the importance of perception and compared R.L. Anderson Stadium to an Impala and Newsom Stadium to a Cadillac.
“We’re trying to reupholster the Impala, we’re trying to put some nice wheels on it, we’re trying to make it look real nice,” he said. “When we see that one of our schools only gets to play in the Cadillac for one game that we want to be sensitive to it.”
Weems said she wants the community to find a way to embrace the history of R.L. Anderson Stadium, which opened in 1955, something newer residents might not have nostalgia for.
“It’s part of our culture, our history,” she said. “I would love for people to have that same feel for it.”
Weems said the athletic department will work to be more transparent about the process and is discussing ways to keep the community informed about how the schedule is created.
Homecoming returns to R.L. Anderson
This was the first year that any Mansfield high schools crowned their homecoming kings and queens at R.L. Anderson Stadium since Newsom Stadium was built in 2006.
Summit and Legacy high schools held their homecoming festivities at the older stadium this year as each of the district’s five high school schools balance varsity football schedules to allow home games on the two available fields.
Weems added that she understands how important homecoming is to the schools and it’s up to the school’s football coaching staff and principal to select the homecoming game.
For Summit High School Principal Charlotte Ford, selecting the Sept. 25 home game at R.L. Anderson was not difficult as the Jaguars only had two home games at Newsom Stadium and one was the rivalry game against Mansfield High and the other is saved for senior night.
“To avoid any type of conflict with tradition between Mansfield or to take away the glamor from our seniors, we decided to pick another home game,” she said.
She added the students had a good time and most were standing to support their football team in a more intimate stadium.
“Our kids like it at R.L. Anderson because it's closer and it gives them an opportunity to have some sense of camaraderie,” she said. “Honestly, there was sense of homecoming and having a home presence.”
Mansfield High School celebrated its homecoming game on the same night at Newsom Stadium.
MISD Varsity Football home games in 2015
Mansfield High School: All five home games at Vernon Newsom Stadium, two on Thursdays. Game against Summit as visitor at Newsom Stadium.
Summit High School: Two home games at Vernon Newsom Stadium, including senior night. Three home games at RLA, including homecoming. Game against Lake Ridge as visitor at Newsom Stadium.
Timberview: Three home games at Newsom Stadium, including homecoming and one Thursday night game. Two home games at RLA, including senior night. Game against Summit as visitor at Newsom Stadium.
Legacy High School: One home game at Newsom Stadium. Three home games at RLA, including homecoming and senior night. Two games as visitor at RLA.
Lake Ridge High School: Four home games at Newsom Stadium, including homecoming and senior night, two games are on Thursday night. Two home games at RLA. Two games as visitor at Newsom Stadium.