The last planned season of play at Ernie Gates Field was trimmed from three varsity football games down to two on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Unsafe field conditions stemming from last year's early October blizzard is the culprit, according to Jim Roaldson, Jamestown High School's athletics director. As a result, Friday's home Blue Jay football game hosting Bismarck Legacy has been moved to University of Jamestown's Taylor Stadium beginning at 4 p.m.
"When we removed the snow last year for that (Bismarck) Century game, it really dug (the field) up," Roaldson said. "We did some dirt work this summer to try and fix that, and, for whatever reason, we're really struggling to get the grass to take."
Jamestown was scheduled to host Century on Oct. 11 of last year, but a heavy, wet snowfall forced the game's postponement to that Monday, Oct. 14. Crews worked throughout the weekend preparing the field for the contest, which was won by Century 29-8.
The Blue Jays later hosted Mandan on Oct. 25 in the season finale, falling 36-24.
Roaldson explained the areas of exposed dirt currently at Ernie Gates Field could possibly cause unstable playing conditions putting athletes at risk, while at the same time causing further damage to the field. But he added play at Ernie Gates is close.
Roaldson said the patches in questions will continue to be tended to throughout the coming week in anticipation of hosting Valley City at Gates on Sept. 25 for homecoming. After that, Jamestown is scheduled to wrap up 92 years at Ernie Gates Field hosting Bismarck High on Oct. 15.
"Hopefully having another week to do that, we're definitely looking to have that Valley City game on this field," Roaldson said.
The Blue Jays are scheduled to fly to Taylor Stadium full time in 2021. Jamestown Public Schools and the University of Jamestown are in the process of executing an $11 million Taylor Stadium joint renovation project slated to begin this fall.
Taylor Stadium, built in the 1930s, has no playing field lights, which has forced this Friday's game versus the Sabers to be moved ahead three hours from 7 p.m. to 4 p.m. Lights, as well as turf, will be part of the upcoming renovation.