MULBERRY, Fla. — The first high school football games kick off in Tampa Bay Friday night, and a team gets a special visit from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
What do you want to know
- The Mulberry Senior High School Panthers will celebrate the opening of a new AstroTurf field at its Phosphate Bowl
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers donated $250,000 for the field, which players say is easier and safer to play on
- AstroTurf will be easier and cheaper to maintain than the old grass pitch
The Mulberry Senior High School Panthers will celebrate the opening of a new AstroTurf field at their Phosphate Bowl – a nearly $900,000 project that has received support from the Bucs.
The Bucs donated $250,000 to the field, which players say is easier and safer to play on.
“It’s much better for the players,” Deontae Burgess said. “It kinda puts you in the college mood, you know? College fields have grass, so for us to be a high school and have our own grass field at our school is kind of cool for us, because we can run faster and everything like that.
The AstroTurf will be easier and cheaper to maintain than the old grass pitch, and the school says several sports like soccer, lacrosse and physical education classes will all be used on the new pitch.
Football coach Kevin Wells says the new turf has also helped him bring new players to the field.
“I think we have kids coming out that wouldn’t normally come out,” Wells said. “I think it makes it easier to come to training. You still have land. You always have a good ground, a good surface to play on. I think that made a big difference in our program, by far.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Street team will be on hand for pre-game activities beginning at 5 p.m. The Bucs Cheerleaders and Captain Fear will also be at the school for fan photo ops.