Field house sporting a sharp new look
When the Marlboro County High football players reported for the start of fall practice last week, they found a new look in the halls of the Munnerlyn Field House.
The wall of the main hall of the building that connects the locker rooms, training room and the coaches offices is now decorated with a mural featuring photos of former Bulldog players in action.
"It is a printed vinyl product that is applied to the wall using a heat gun. It really has turned out great," said head coach Dean Boyd.
Boyd had seen similar wall art at college facilities that he visited. As impressive as the graphics looked, the coach had dismissed the idea, figuring it was just too expensive.
"It turns out to be about the same price as repainting the hall and much quicker to install," said Boyd.
The graphics and the installation were paid for with funds the football players raised in the last few months.
"We didn't use any school district funds, this was all accomplished by the efforts of the players. That was important for them to have some ownership in the project," said Boyd.
It is one of the first steps that Boyd has implemented for refreshing the field house. He also wants to replace the 30-year old lockers, add more of the vinyl graphics to the walls and turn one room into a players' lounge.
"It is important to have a place that the players are proud of and look forward to being in. Facilities definitely matter - just look at all the things they do at USC and Clemson to make their facilities top notch," he said.
It anyone has a used billiard table, foosball table, a ping-pong table or large tvs that they would be willing to donate to the team, Boyd would love to accept it for the players' lounge.
"The locker rooms aren't air conditioned, so those aren't places the guys want to stay any longer than necessary. The room where the lounge will be is in the climate controlled part of the building and can be set up to be a neat place for them to enjoy," said Boyd.
Wednesday evening, the players reported to the field house for the first on-campus training camp that Boyd has ever run.
"It has been eight years since we last went away to camp. Many of the regulations the High School League places on football teams made it impractical," he said.
"However, with all of the technology we use, such as filming all of our practices, it makes it so we can actually accomplish a lot by having the kids together for several days," said Boyd.
The coach thinks the time spent working together will also make the team closer.
The players will sleep in the field house and have meals provided for by the booster club, community organizations and a church group.
Camp will conclude Saturday morning when the team hosts West Florence and Carvers Bay in a scrimmage.
The action will begin at 10 a.m. and is open to the public.
"Because of all the rain, we won't be getting on the game field. The scrimmage will be on the practice field behind the visitors' stands. Anyone that wants to come watch can bring a lawn chair," said Boyd.
The Bulldogs will also scrimmage next Wednesday at Richmond County High in Rockingham, NC. Their final two tune-ups will be in jamborees.
Marlboro County will host the Dennis Miller Jamboree of Champions on Friday, August 10, beginning at 5 p.m.
They will also play in the Cheraw jamboree the following night, facing off against Pageland Central.
The regular season opens the following Friday, August 17, as the team hosts the Carolina Christian Cavaliers, a home school team from the Rock Hill area.