Gloucester High School’s football Fishermen have found a venue to host their home football games — and it’s not very far from home.
Manchester Essex Regional High School has accommodated Gloucester to host four of its five home games at Hyland Field in Manchester. According to Gloucester Athletic Director Kim Patience, one other “home” game will be played at Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody.
Gloucester’s Newell Stadium will not be playable for the 2012-2013 school year while undergoing a $3 million renovation project.
By the fall of 2013, Newell Stadium is scheduled to be completely renovated with a new turf field and a regulation size track surrounding the field. Newell Stadium will also be turned in a different direction as the end zones will now run parallel to Centennial Avenue.
But that leaves the Fishermen without a home for the coming season.
It was originally thought that Gloucester was going to play its home games at Endicott College in Beverly, but Patience said scheduling conflicts ultimately squashed that deal.
“(Endicott) tried to accommodate us, and we thought it was going to work out no problem,” Patience said. “But as Endicott’s schedule started filling up, we could not fit in on Saturdays. They didn’t want to lock us into games before locking their teams into games first, which is obviously completely understandable.
“We could only get Friday night games at Endicott,” she added, “and both parties agreed that mixing a high school and college atmospheres on a Friday night was not an environment we wanted to create.”
Patience said that, after talks with Endicott fell through, she immediately went to Manchester Essex.
“We are very (grateful) that (Manchester Essex Athletic Director) Kelly Porcaro graciously accepted us to play at their site,” Patience said. “It’s nice to have these games not to far away from Gloucester. They have a great facility that we are looking forward to using.”
The Fishermen, coming off of a 2-9 campaign in 2011, open the season Friday, Sept. 11 at Manchester Essex against Lynn English (7 p.m.).
From there, Gloucester plays three more games at Hyland Field against Masconomet on Saturday, Oct. 6 (2 p.m.), Beverly on Saturday Oct. 27 (7 p.m.), and Swampscott on Nov. 10 (7 p.m.).
On Saturday, Oct. 13, the Fishermen will play their lone game at Bishop Fenwick against Lynn Classical (1 p.m.).
Still on the agenda for Patience this summer, however, is finding a venue for the Gloucester field hockey, boys soccer and girls soccer teams.
A venue has not been nailed down for any of the three teams but Patience said she is working to find one.
“Worst case scenario we can play the games at O’Maley field or Magnolia Woods,” Patience said. “That’s the worst case scenario and it’s not an ideal scenario.
The problem is soccer and field hockey plays multiple times a week where football plays just once a week, those three sports are a lot more difficult to find a venue.”
Patience, however, says the hardships of finding a place to play this school year will all be worth it by the time the 2013-2014 school year comes around.
“Once this year is through we are going to be really happy at Newell Stadium,” Patience said. “It’s going to end up being a first-class venue.”
Nick Curcuru can be reached at 978-283-7000, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.