The 2018 Football season will look different to all who enter the gates of Dragon Stadium this year as a multi-million dollar renovation draws closer to completion. Upon entering the stadium, the eyes of the fans will be immediately drawn to the new artificial turf that has been been put down to replace the natural grass surface that has seen many years of tackles and touchdowns.
As the history of the old field remains in the hearts of Dragons before, a new era of history will begin on Friday May 18, 2018 as the Tigers of Dawson Co. will come in as the first opponent on the new turf and will end the 2018 Spring practice session for the Dragons. As exciting as it will be to see the Dragons take the field on Friday, it is just as exciting to know what actually goes into creating a masterpiece. The new turf is being completed by Deluxe Athletics. Their name might not be known but you will definitely recognize their work. Probably the most recognized on their resume is Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. As the home of the Falcons and Atlanta United, the turf is obviously durable and in Dragons Stadium it will see both football and soccer action for years to come.
The process of installing a surface such as this is fairly complex. After the turf is unloaded from the trucks, it is placed on the ground and rolled into position. Each roll is attached together by a rolling sewing machine and the meticulous job of putting the hash marks, numbers and logos begin. Every hash is individually cut out of the green turf and white strips are placed using a rolling machine that heats industrial strength hot glue to secure them. This process also occurs for the numbers, the logo in the center of the field and also for the end zone logos. Once this is complete the turf is swept with a street sweeper to prepare the surface for the sand and rubber pellets that lie deep within the grains of the artificial grass.
As the sand starts going in, it is monitored to remain at a specific depth and the packed with a commercial roller to ensure firmness and consistency of the playing surface. Following the sand, the crews bring out the rubber pellets to spread over the field. After completion of layer one of pellets, a second layer of sand and pellets are applied and then swept again. In the final process in completing the field a new technological product will be used. Cool Play is a highly advanced pellet that has a surface temp of 35 degrees cooler than traditional pellets used in artificial surfaces.
Also new to the stadium is a state of the art 32 feet high definition Jumbo Tron video board. This will allow player bios and game highlights to stream throughout the game while still functioning as a normal scoreboard. Track and Field for Pickens will benefit from the renovation as well with a new track surface being installed.
The first of many non athletic events that will take place on the new surface is scheduled for May 26, 2018 with the Graduating Class of 2018 receiving their diplomas and heading out in to the world.
Last month the Pickens Board of Education approved the hiring of new boys basketball Coach Mike Duffie. Coach Duffie comes to the Dragons with 29 years as a head coach and a pedigree that speaks for itself. He is excited to be a Dragon and looks forward to hitting the hardwoods and getting the 2018-2019 season started.
Known as a “builder of programs”, Duffie has taken the opportunity at several High Schools to right the ship of some pretty dismal programs. With 33 years overall in coaching, he started his career at Model High School in Rome GA. as an assistant Varsity coach and head JV coach from 1985-1989. Duffie took his first head coaching job at Macon County High School in Montezuma, Ga in 1989 and his resume started to take shape. As the boys head coach he led the Bulldogs to Sub-Region Champions in ’90,’92, ’93 and in 1990 had a State Quarterfinal appearance. Duffie was named the 1-A Coach of the Year.
At the end of the 1993 season, Duffie took the reigns and ran as the Morristown East(TN) coach. Coming off a 2 win season, the task was tough for Coach Duffie but he jumped in head first to turn things around. The fruits of his labor started showing almost immediately in his second season. The next three seasons saw consecutive Region Tournament appearances and a school record 24-9 overall season. The Hurricanes had their 1st state ranking since 1979 coming in at 10th and several other first in the previous 18 years. Regular season Conference Champions, District Tournament Champions and Region Tournament Runners-up were all apart of these. Duffie was also the Head Coach for the Lady Hurricanes Softball program during his tenure at Morristown East High School.
Gordon Central realizing their need to kick-start a program that was barely existing brought Duffie to do as he does, build the program. Coming off a winless season, the Warriors were needing exactly what Duffie had to offer and he started in 1999. In 2002, 7-AAAA basketball new that Gordon Central was back as the Warriors made it to the GHSA State Tournament for the first time in school history and a 20-6(first in school history) record for the 2005 season. Coach Duffie also started the Lady Warriors softball program and had a 20 win season in four short years of a new program.
The most recent head coaching position for Duffie was Dalton High School and his resume continued to be impressive. Beginning in 2006 until his hiring at Pickens High School, Mike Duffie had the Catamounts of Dalton at the top of their game. In his 12 year stent at Dalton, he had multiple Region Runner-up finishes and a sweet 16 showing. In Coach Duffies’ last 6 years, he had five 19 win seasons and one 20 win season. Duffie also led the Lady Catamounts Golf team to a 2015 AAAAA Region Championship and the AAAAA State finals where they were runner-up. In 2016, the Lady Catamounts were Region 7-AAAAA Champions and went on to win the State Championship
Coach Duffie and everyone in the Dragon Nation looks forward to what the 2018-2019 season will hold as a new era begins. It is proven by past experiences that Coach Duffie is capable of bringing the Dragons basketball program to the forefront and fill the gym with fans.
The Pickens High School is currently in a “soft” lock down, meaning the hallways and common areas are kept clear. This is being done to allow a planned K9 search of the facility. Students are not at risk and this has been a planned operation to continue to make our schools a drug free environment.
Additional details will come as the search is completed.
May 31, 2017 — Driving-Tests.org (DTO) is pleased to award Pickens High School Media Center $500 for participating in DTO’s library partnership program. As part of the program, libraries offer their customers advertising-free access to the DTO website, which includes written practice tests for automobile, motorcycle, and commercial vehicle drivers’ licenses for all 50 states.
In January 2017, DTO launched the campaign to increase awareness of the pro bono community-based online driver education program that it provides to public and private libraries across the United States. To incentivize libraries to register, DTO established a Library Partnership Award as part of which every library that signed up from January – April 2017 was eligible to win one of five $500 awards. To enter, libraries registered online and added the link provided by DTO to their computers to give all patrons access to DTO’s online driver education resources.
DTO fills a need concerning new driver safety education for teens, new motorcycle riders and new commercial drivers. Traffic crashes continue to be the leading cause of death in the United States, and nearly 44 percent of new drivers fail their written knowledge exams the first time they take them. To help new drivers readily pass their knowledge tests and become safer, more informed drivers, Driving‑Tests.org offers online permit practice tests created by experts and based on each state’s official manuals. The site has had more than 16 million unique visitors since 2010.
“We are pleased to offer this valuable free resource to our students and excited to win $500 just for helping them become more educated drivers before getting behind the wheel. It is our hope that by increased use of the practice tests, the students are more aware of the dangers and able to make good choices when driving,” said Kristie Moss, Media Specialist for Pickens High School.
“We are passionate about online driver education and setting high standards to help lower the number of driver related crashes, injuries, and fatalities,” said Andrei Zakhareuski, Founder of Driving-Tests.org. “Our library partnerships are extremely valuable to us, and we are excited to reward them for their dedication to their communities by preparing more drivers not only for their permit tests but more importantly for their safety on the road.”
The library partnership program is currently available in more than 1,800 libraries in 50 states and continues to expand every day. More information on the program and a list of current libraries registered can be found at driving-tests.org/library.
Those interested in signing up their library can apply here.