Winters Mill might sell out vs. Westminster

September 15, 2006|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

Winters Mill High has had a number of firsts since opening four years ago.

Tonight, the school expects to have one more.

The Falcons host rival Westminster in a key early-season Carroll County football matchup that is expected to mark the school's first stadium sellout. Winters Mill pre-sold about 2,000 tickets to students and fans from both schools, and because of safety concerns, chose not to sell any more at the gate.

"We just don't have the facility to have 3,000 or 4,000 people in the stadium," athletic director Bill Rumbaugh said.

The school, trying to avoid turning people away, made an effort to get the word out ahead of time that fans needed to have their tickets in hand to gain admittance to the stadium.

Rumbaugh said the biggest problem was the stadium's visitors' seating, which is just a small section of permanent bleachers - not nearly enough to handle Westminster's normally large fan base.

"The problem is that [the stands] are small and there's not a lot of standing area inside the stadium," he said. "The walkway around the stadium is only about 8 feet wide, and we just can't have people five or six deep standing there. It's just not safe."

Rumbaugh said the school did about all it could to create more seating, including moving the band out of the stands and into temporary bleachers. More temporary seating to accommodate fans, however, wasn't possible because of the position of a fence encircling the stadium.

"We'd have to reconstruct the fence of the stadium, and that's not something I can do just for one game," Rumbaugh said.

CARROLL COUNTY

Westminster (1-0) at No. 14 Winters Mill (1-0)

WHEN -- Tonight, 7

OUTLOOK -- The matchup could show whether the visiting Owls can revisit last year's school-best Class 3A state runner-up finish, or whether the Falcons, their neighborhood rivals, are ready to take flight as one of the league's premier teams.

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