On September 11, 2015, the Raiders suited up for their final night game at Wellesley High School. This game against the Peabody Tanners ended with the Raiders cruising past Peabody 20-8, to a large home crowd thrilled about the win.
It wasn’t a surprise that this game was one of the largest wins for the Raiders that year, both in the box score, and in the hearts of the players. The game was the last night game on the old field, as well as the final night game in Wellesley (the Raiders did have a home night game in 2016 at Weston High School during field renovations).
For many students, the night game was considered the biggest game of the year due to it’s apt timing. Many schools around the country are known for their Friday night football games, which has developed into a standard for schools. It was also typically the most popular game in terms of ticket sales.
With the creation of the new Connor Darcey Memorial Field, many were expecting new floodlights to accommodate the future of night games at Wellesley High. However, despite being made with what Athletic Director John Brown called “the newest and best materials that can be bought by the Athletic Office,” floodlights were not present.
There are various reasons for the floodlights not being apart of the new field. Firstly, neighbors surrounding the field voted against the lights being installed because of disturbance in peace. The move would be from one or two night games a year to an event that happens weekly not in just the football season, but potentially in the spring with lacrosse as well. Temporary lights, used for previous night games, couldn’t be in the equation as those lights would have to be placed on the new track which would potentially lead to damage.
The Raiders are left with the question: Will there ever be another night game?
Last year, Wellesley’s two night games in Weston were both quite successful. However, the second night game, a 21-0 rout of the Natick Redhawks, did not have near the ticket sales of the first night game, which puts into doubt whether or not the night game could even be a consistent success if it was more than once a year. Part of why it is so successful is because of the hype around the singular event.
As a Raiders fan, I would be overjoyed for the return of the night game, however, with options limited, the likelihood seems lower and lower.