High school football kicks off tonight

COVINGTON - Newton County residents and football fans from across the state will get a chance to see the updated look at Homer Sharp Stadium starting tonight.

The stadium will play host to the first home football game of the year at 7:30 p.m. In a cross-county showdown, the Alcovy Tigers will face the Newton Rams.

In the off season, the Newton County School System completed some much-needed updating of the 53-year-old stadium using SPLOST funding.

Construction crews built a nearly $1 million field house to replace some old and outdated buildings. The field house, which sits near the same location as the previous one, now includes concession stands, locker rooms and storage facilities for all three of the county's high schools.

At the stadium, crews also installed new visitors bleachers and footings.

NCSS also added a new video board to the field that will allow for advertisement displays, live feeds and replays. Since all three NCSS high schools use the field for home football games, each of them now will be able to use the board to display school colors and sponsors during games.

As a result of the updates, some previously known stadium standards have changed.

The home entrance is now the visitors entrance - the home team fans now enter on the east end of the field near the Bank of North Georgia, and visitors enter on the south end of the field near the Sharp gym.

Additionally, at the new field house and concession stand, the restroom area and a fence separate the home and visitors sides.

"The rules are the same as always throughout the rest of the stadium," said Sherri Viniard, director of public relations at NCSS.

NCSS will hold an open house for the new field house from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the stadium.

On Sept. 4, the Alcovy Tigers will face the Eastside Eagles in another hometown competition. Eastside will face Newton on Sept. 11.

SideBar: If you go

2009 High School Football Schedule

Alcovy Tigers

· Today vs. Newton (Alcovy Home)*

· Sept. 4 vs. Eastside (Eastside Home)*

· Sept. 11 at North Clayton (Tara)

· Sept. 18 vs. Stockbridge (Homecoming)*

· Sept. 25 at Jonesboro (Tara)

· Oct. 2 at Dutchtown

· Oct. 9 Open

· Oct. 15 vs. Ola (Thursday Night Game)*

· Oct. 23 vs. Mt. Zion (Senior Night)*

· Oct. 30 at Forest Park

· Nov. 6 at Griffin

Eastside Eagles

· Today at Harris County

· Sept. 4 vs. Alcovy (Eastside Home)*

· Sept. 11 vs. Newton (Newton Home)*

· Sept. 18 Open

· Sept. 25 vs. Elbert County (Homecoming)*

· Oct. 2 at Stephens County

· Oct. 9 vs. Hart County*

· Oct. 16 at Jackson County

· Oct. 23 at Oconee County

· Oct. 30 vs. Morgan County (Senior Night)*

· Nov. 6 at Franklin County

Newton Rams

· Today vs. Alcovy (Alcovy Home)*

· Sept. 4 at McIntosh

· Sept. 11 vs. Eastside (Newton Home)*

· Sept. 26 vs. Stephenson*

· Oct. 2 vs. Redan (Homecoming)*

· Oct. 9 at Martin Luther King (5:15 p.m. start)

· Oct. 16 vs. Greenbriar*

· Oct. 23 at Douglas

· Oct. 30 at Union Grove

· Nov. 6 vs. Luella (Senior Night)*

*All home games at Sharp Stadium start at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.