Football at EDSS has come a long way since the team kicked off on a makeshift field behind the school.
Four years later, the varsity squad will start the season on a new field equipped with a state-of-the-art scoreboard. The new wireless scoreboard is 24 feet wide and 14 feet high, with the words “Home of the Lancers” blazoned across the top.
Funds for the scoreboard will come from the fifth annual Lancers golf classic, which will be held at Conestoga Country Club June 19. Football coach Steve Karn said the $15,000 raised at this year’s tournament will be matched by the Lions Club to cover the cost of the scoreboard.
The football program at EDSS started up in 2005 after a 54-year hiatus. Karn, who had played varsity football for Wilfrid Laurier University, spent five years rallying the school board, school administration and student body behind the idea.
Karn estimates they spent $70,000 on equipment to get the program up and running. There are also substantial operating costs, as the equipment has to be inspected and reconditioned every year.
“It’s an expensive sport,” Karn said. “We’re one of the only schools in the county that doesn’t rely on any help from the school itself. If we didn’t run this [golf tournament], football probably wouldn’t run.”
The event is a popular one; 144 golfers will hit the links next Friday, and registration was full several weeks in advance.
“This year we’ve had to turn seven or eight other foursomes away because it’s booked solid,” Karn said. “It’s always a very good turnout with alumni and people from the community, which is great.”
Boston Bruins defenceman Dennis Wideman will be among the field of golfers, hoping to repeat his foursome’s win last year.
It’s not just the facilities that have improved over the years; the teams have picked up their performance on the field as well. Last season, the junior and senior squads moved from the “C” division up to “B”; this fall, they’ll start in the “A” division on the strength of the juniors’ second-place finish last year.
Karn said the tournament is a lot of work throughout the year, to organize and solicit prizes, but the payoff is worth it.
“It’s a very successful day; [it] beats selling chocolate bars.”