Homecoming game will be the first night game in Terry Harvey Field history
By David Yarger
The term "Friday night lights" has become a staple when referring to high school football. It's a night where the community gathers and watches its local high school football team try to take down its opponent. Niagara-Wheatfield High School is finally ready to be a part of that staple.
For homecoming weekend, on Oct. 13 at Terry Harvey Field, the Falcons will host their first-ever Friday night football game under the lights.
The Friday night contest is something the school and the Niagara-Wheatfield Football Families Association had been advocating for, for a while now, Athletic Director Matthew McKenna said.
"Our boosters have been trying for a few years to make this happen and finally the planets aligned. It has taken about a full year to prepare for this event," he said.
Although the game starts at 7 p.m., the festivities start early for students. From 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. students can enjoy "Falcon Fest." The fest includes a dunk tank, bungee run, inflatable obstacle courses, bumper ball soccer, food trucks and a DJ.
Along with it being the homecoming game, the school will recognize its senior football players and cheerleaders. The pre-game festivities are slated to start at 6 p.m.
Coach Russ Nixon said the day of festivities is a great way to get all of Wheatfield to come out.
"It's going to be an awesome event put on that's centered around the football game, but we're excited to bring the community together for it and to combine a community event with a football game," he said.
The Falcons also ask everyone to flood the stands by wearing red clothing as part of the themes for the game, "Red Out" and "N-W Falcon's light up the night."
McKenna said the game means everything to the team.
"It means a lot. They are excited already and the place is going to be absolutely electric," he said.
Running back Josh Brown and quarterback Jordan Parks were thrilled to hear they'd be playing in front of the N-W faithful on a Friday night.
"It's a privilege to play this sport. We have an outstanding group and believe me when I tell you, we are beyond excited to play under the lights at home," Brown said.
Parks said, " It feels great knowing we get to play the first home night game in Wheatfield history. It feels great playing with the group of guys were playing with. I love my team and I'm glad we get to make history together."
Nixon said to coach the first night game in N-W history is a tremendous feeling and he's happy to be part of the Falcons' tradition.
"There's a long tradition with N-W football going back to Coach Cacciatore and to have a part of it and my name associated with it is a great honor. It's great that we're able to put this event on for our players and really show where they've gotten," he said.
Nixon thanked everyone who made the event possible and said he's expecting the atmosphere to also be electric.
"I'm expecting it's gonna be like when the Buffalo Bills get a home night game. I really have to thank the NWFFA, the athletic director, student council and Wheatfield and Louisville alum Justin Gilmore who spent their time and effort on this. Lorna Peltier, our booster president took the ball on this and ran with it. I'm hoping all of the community comes out to celebrate this historic night," he said.
Nixed added, to see how far the district has come from the tough times a few years back, it shows what's been done and it's very special.
The school hopes Niagara-Wheatfield Alumni and community members will join them for the historic event.
The Falcons' historic homecoming game will be vs. Williamsville North.