STERLING – Sterling and Newman high schools have set aside some hard feelings, and ironed out a new 5-year gridiron agreement that is satisfactory to them both.
Newman Central Catholic High School will pay the Sterling School District $12,000 a year to use Roscoe Eades Stadium for four varsity and two sophomore football games.
The Sterling School Board approved the new contract Monday.
It's a considerable increase for Newman, which paid $1,000 a game per the 2012-17 contract.
Sterling made some major improvements to the facility, though, and was looking to increase its rental fee to help pay for the investment.
After some tense initial negotiations, the schools struck a 1-year deal at the start of this school year for $2,000 a game. It cost Newman $14,000 for five regular season and two playoff games.
The new 5-year contract calls for six guaranteed Newman football games at the stadium this year. That still works out to $2,000 per game, but that figure can be reduced if Newman hosts playoff games.
“Last year we had some growing pains with the changes and the updates that we had made,” Sterling Superintendent Tad Everett said. “We increased the rental rate for all of our users, and that impacted them. We respect that.
“Last year was a little contentious, and we understand that. This year was not.”
Mike Papoccia, Newman's athletic director, agreed.
“Five years is a great agreement, and we’re very happy with the outcome,” Papoccia said. “Sterling did a good job of kind of mending the dents from last year, and making things what we think is OK. It’ll work.”
Under the terms of the new contract, Newman will play four regular season varsity games at the stadium, all on Saturdays. In addition, it will play its first two sophomore home games there on Mondays.
Previously, Newman played sophomore games before the varsity games; however, its conference, Three Rivers, moved all sophomore football games for its schools to Monday. Three additional sophomore home games will be played at the football field at Newman.
The agreement also details usage of the stadium’s video scoreboard, installed at the start of this school year, which Newman plans to use.
Sterling will provide a trained operator for the video board for varsity games only, and any recorded elements Newman would like to display on it must be provided to Sterling High School Athletic Director Greg King 24 hours before a game.
Should Newman choose to show live video and instant replays on the video board, it must provide its own equipment and staff.
Sterling also will provide stadium lights, the scoreboard, the public address system and the American flag, and will clean up the field, stadium and restrooms after Newman's games.
If the field is vandalized during a Newman game, Newman will pay any damages.
Newman can use the field on dates approved by Sterling, and that includes practices, which need to be arranged with and approved by King 24 hours in advance.
In the event of scheduling conflicts brought upon by inclement weather or playoff scheduling, Papoccia and King will try to work it out; if no agreement can be reached, Sterling has exclusive rights to host.
“It’s a fairer agreement than last year,” Papoccia said. “They worked out a way for us to supply our commitment of money for each year. It’s a great facility to play at, so we definitely signed the contract.”
Newman home games
Sept. 7 ...... Hall ......... .... 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 .... Morrison ...... 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 ...... Orion ........... noon
Oct. 26 ...... Fulton .......... noon
Sept. 2 ...... Hall .............. 6 p.m.
Sept. 16 .... Kewanee ..... 6 p.m.
Sophomore games on Sept. 23, Oct. 7 and Oct. 21 will be played at the Newman practice field behind the high school, 1101 St. Mary's Road, Sterling.