A much needed renovation

Freedom Football Alumni Association helps improve the football program

Over the summer, the Freedom Football Alumni Association redid the sign at the bottom of Harvey Run Road leading up to the school.

Over the summer, the Freedom Football Alumni Association redid the sign at the bottom of Harvey Run Road leading up to the school.

Madison Snavely, Asst. Features Editor

The crowd goes wild, touchdown! It was opening day on a cool Friday night and Freedom’s football team took on rival Hopewell at home. Fans were lined up waiting to buy tickets from the newly painted ticket booth. Fireworks bursted in the air as the team scored another touchdown. The newly redone scoreboard lights up and raises Freedom’s score. Fans, band members and players alike had an amazing experience, but who is to thank for these additional improvements to the newly remodeled stadium?

The Freedom Football Alumni Association was founded in the month of June, roughly has around fifty members and has since raised over fifteen thousand dollars. So far, some of the things that the organization has helped pay for are the new scoreboard in Bulldog’s Stadium, the new paint job on the ticket booth, the new “Welcome to Freedom, Home of the Bulldogs” sign at the bottom of Harvey Run road, the fireworks on opening night and the banners on the fences. The lettering on the end zones of the newly redone football field were also helped paid for by the association by a one thousand dollar direct donation to the school district.

“[What we stand for is] to support the football program. All of our money we raise is all dedicated for the football program and the facilities here for the football program,” President and founder of the Freedom Football Alumni Jim Happ said.

Students and community members alike find the new additions presented by the association to be pleasing.

“I said to multiple people after the game that the banners, fireworks, scoreboard, along with our new look field really made the game so much more exciting. I feel all that made for a much better experience for the fans. I, as a player, felt as if I was playing on a professional team because of the way we were treated. I thought it was awesome, and I can’t wait for more home games like that. I’d say the only thing we are missing now is a student section,” junior football player Max Ujhazy said.

Junior Morgan Swab, who is a fan of the football team, finds the new additions to the stadium impactful as well.

“I think the banners are a great addition to the stadium. I feel the ticket booth is a great addition too. The fireworks were a great surprise and very amusing. Opening day was great and I do look forward to more things the association has to sponsor to create new entertainment for the already basic football games,” Swab said.

The Freedom Football Alumni Association has many different goals planned for upcoming years. One includes a tackling machine for the football team. The tackling machine was already approved for by the school board and will be purchased by the association for next season. Another goal is to buy smoother wheels for one of the equipment carts.

The association has also held several different fundraisers to help raise money for the football program. In July, the association held a golf outing that raised over twelve thousand dollars. Even former NFL players that came from out-of-town, who graduated from Freedom, attended the outing.

“[The former NFL players] represent the Gridiron Greats, and we showed twelve inductees into the Gridiron Great hall of fame this year, to which we started this year, and every year from here out we’re going to induct probably two more, and we do it by decades, from 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and we get a list of guys that were there and we go through their stats and what they accomplished. There’s guys from way back before I was born from to guys into the 90s class,” Happ said.

The association bought the new Gridiron Greats sign that is located on the back of the elementary school.

GoFundMe pages have also been created to help raise money for the new stadium scoreboard and the ”Welcome to Freedom, Home of the Bulldogs” sign at the bottom of Harvey Run road. Other fundraisers the association held included a steak fry dinner that raised over two thousand dollars, social gatherings, chinese auctions and a Steelers season ticket raffle that raised around two thousand dollars.

An upcoming fundraiser the association is planning will be a wing bash the Friday night before homecoming on Sept. 12. For the wing bash, the Freedom Football Alumni Association will be partnering with the Football Boosters and Cheer Boosters. Money raised will be split between the Alumni Association and the Football booster to help support the end of the year banquet, gifts for the coaches, letterman jackets and apparel.

“Our goal is to keep raising money for the football program to help keep the equipment updated, purchase equipment, help the kids out with gear, spikes and summer gear. We pay for a couple of football camps for the kids and we want to continue doing that,” Happ said.

With the new additions to the football stadium and program, players and fans alike encourage those to come out and support the team and the association.

“I’d love for our students to come out and support us to bring more energy to a rapidly growing area of Freedom that we have spent so much time and money on improving. The team is very excited for Friday nights,” Ujhazy said.

The Freedom Football Alumni Association plans to keep on raising money and creating fundraisers to further help and improve the football program for years to come.