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August 19, 2013

A Look Ahead: North Murray breaking in turf

You’ll hear a lot about Dalton High School’s season-opening football game at Harmon Field on Friday night versus Ringgold. But that night, another local football program has a big new beginning planned.

North Murray will celebrate its new artificial turf field and field house at 7 p.m. at Mountaineer Stadium, with the annual “Black and Gold” scrimmage game following.

The Mountaineers are the second program — after Christian Heritage — to get a turf playing surface at its home field.

North Murray coach David Gann said back in July, before the project was finished, the school was planning the “community event” to commemorate the new additions to the athletics facilities.

The project was funded by a private donor and started in the spring. Along with the new turf, the construction also included a field house behind the south end zone of the stadium which is used primarily for the football program.

The total donation was around $1.1 million, according to estimates from Gann of $500,000 for the turf and $600,000 for the field house.

However, maintenance costs will be reduced. Both Gann and Rainey estimated the cost of maintaining a grass field is around $16,000 per year. This includes painting lines, numbers and logos, applying fertilizer and other general upkeep duties which don’t have to be done for turf.

• Despite only being less than two weeks into the season, region play is in full swing on the area’s diamonds.

On Thursday, North Murray’s softball team travels to Coahulla Creek for a Region 5-3A clash. The game starts at 5:55 p.m. and also is the only matchup between local teams this week. On Tuesday, Coahulla Creek hosts region foe Ringgold at 5:30 p.m. and North Murray travels to region rival Gordon Central for a 5:55 p.m. start.

On Saturday, North Murray plays at defending region champ Cartersville, with first pitch scheduled for noon.

Murray County will host Region 7-2A foe Armuchee at 5:30 p.m. today and travel to face region rival Dade County at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

• Southeast Whitfield’s softball team is the only local squad playing in a tournament this week. The Lady Raiders play Friday and Saturday in the Allatoona High Buccaneer Bash in Acworth.

However, three local volleyball teams will play in invitationals this weekend.

The Lady Raiders’ volleyball team will play Saturday at the Lumpkin County Invitational. Dalton’s volleyball team will play Friday and Saturday at the Bradley Central Invitational in Cleveland, Tenn., and North Murray will compete at Rockmart’s At The Rock Invitational, scheduled for Saturday.

• Dalton State’s volleyball squad begins its 2013 season this week, and is the first team to play since the school relaunched athletics. The Roadrunners will travel to Central, S.C., Tuesday to face Southern Wesleyan University at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, Dalton State will go to Cleveland, Tenn., for an exhibition with Lee University starting at 6 p.m.

• Coming Thursday is The Daily Citizen’s 2013 area high school football preview section. It will include stories about each of the seven high school teams in Whitfield and Murray counties, plus additional feature articles to prepare you for Friday nights in Northwest Georgia.

Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Have something you think he should highlight in “A Look Ahead?” Write to him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com.

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