With no true stadium at their schools, Ridge View and Gray Collegiate football teams are used to playing their home games away from campus.
For the second straight year, the two schools will play a home game at Spirit Communications Park. The games will be part of the three-game Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center Pigskin in the Park Series to be held at the home of minor league baseball’s Columbia Fireflies.
Gray Collegiate plays Brookland-Cayce on Sept. 22. The other two games are Spring Valley vs. River Bluff on Oct. 13 and Ridge View against Westwood on Oct. 20.
“As a high school kid, I would die to play in something like this,” Ridge View coach Perry Parks said. “It is really good when you get off the bus and see the field perfectly manicured, see the stands and the jumbotron. It was an amazing experience and we are definitely excited to come back here.”
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Ridge View and Gray Collegiate each won their matchups last year at Spirit Communications. The Blazers defeated Fairfield Central, 22-20, in the first football game played at the stadium, while the War Eagles beat Eau Claire, 49-3.
“We are unique and don’t have a home field so Spirit Communications Park is very gracious to let us come back for a second time,” said Gray Collegiate coach Adam Holmes, whose team plays its homes at Benedict College. “Last year, it was amazing. When they walked in and to see the look on their eyes, they were wide open. They treat you like first class here and give you everything you need.”
Spring Valley will play for the first time at Spirit Communications Park. The Vikings feature linebacker Spring Valley, the No. 1 ranked player in the state by 247Sports, and are expected to contend for a title in Region 5-5A.
“We play in a great facility but to come to a place like this, a professional field, unbelievable facility and it’s downtown. It’s a unique atmosphere,” Spring Valley coach Robin Bacon said. “Our kids are excited and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”