Glendale Prep athletic director Jerome Garrison

Glendale Prep athletic director Jerome Garrison pounds fists with the Glendale Prep Griffins at a celebration of the school’s new field.

The community surrounding Glendale Prep Academy spent the Saturday evening on August 17, at exactly 8:17 p.m., celebrating the renovation and expansion of the school’s football field.

Now regulation size for 11-man, AIA 2A football, the school will be able to host home games for the first time since moving up from eight-man games in the 2016 season.

The renovated facility is a point of pride, especially for the football team, which held a scrimmage the night before on its new home grass.

“They’re really excited. It’s a huge ordeal for us right now, in drumming up support from parents, family, the school and everything,” coach Robert Addicott said.

Athletic director Jerome Garrison led the three fall sports teams — football, cross country and girls’ volleyball — in a series of speeches from coaches about their upcoming seasons, and even a dance-off between different sports in front of fans.

He encouraged those associated with the school to attend as many events as possible, hoping the field provides another incentive to show up to games.

“This is to build spirit. In athletics, you cannot have a good team unless you have that, unless you’re supporting each other and have that support from the rest of the school,” Garrison said.

While the new, full-size field will be used for more than just football, Addicott’s squad will be the one to use it first for regular season home games.

It is also a major leg up on competition, as the Griffins can run their full slate of plays in preparation for games, without having to make concessions in a smaller space.

“You can actually run your plays like you’re going to run them in a game, instead of having to condense it or only do half of the field. It’s more of a game feel,” Addicott said.

It also, more than anything, is a point of pride for the Griffins, their own home to protect.

In the past, the Griffins would have to rent out a field from a nearby school or facility to play games, which were technically home but did not feel that way. This season, there will even be several contests that are slated as “road games” on paper, but will be held at the Griffins’ field because the other team does not have its own field.

“It helps with the atmosphere, because it’s having our own identity. And you can’t really do that as much if you’re going somewhere else for what is supposed to be your home games,” Addicott said.

When the lights shone for the first time at the Griffins’ field, Garrison showed genuine excitement for the future of Glendale Prep’s athletic programs. He hopes the renovations, both to the field and fan interest, will bode well for the Griffins for years to come.

“We have an opportunity to make this Pinnacle Peak corner ours, to lay our mark right here, so every opponent that comes here knows what we’re about and knows they’re going to have to bring their ‘A’ game every time,” he said.