A new look at Mervo

Renovated football facilities dedicated at school

August 22, 2008|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

Home-field advantage has never looked more appealing to Jeremiah Conway.

Conway, a senior center and defensive tackle for the Mervo high school football team, can't wait to open the 2008 season at Art Modell Field at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School - on the same field turf that the city's NFL franchise plays on and in front of more bleachers. The facility also includes and upgraded concession stand and upgraded restrooms.

"I appreciate being able to go out on a new field, under the lights, in front of new bleachers," Conway said. "I'm speechless."

The improvements came courtesy of the Ravens All Community Team Foundation, team owner Steve Bisciotti, cornerback Chris McAlister and the NFL Youth Football Fund.

Bisciotti, McAlister, tight end Daniel Wilcox, wide receiver Yamon Figurs, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon were on hand at the renovated football stadium yesterday afternoon to dedicate the field to Modell, the former Ravens owner.

"I'll never be able to thank people enough for honoring me as they do," Modell said yesterday. "I've always said that we've got to give back to our friends and our supporters and the community at large. It's worked well. We've been rewarded many times."

The $1 million project - which mirrors a similar reconstruction at Polytechnic Institute - included installation of a Sportexe turf field (like that at M&T Bank Stadium), additional bleachers on the home and away sides of the field, a ticket booth and upgrades to the restrooms and concession stand.

The Mustangs, which will share the field with the Northwood Youth Football league, are looking forward to using the stadium. The field was closed for four years while the city and contractors clashed over construction costs.

When the stadium opened three years ago, players and coaches had to endure drainage issues, a lack of grass and an overabundance of stones.

The new field joins Lumsden-Scott Stadium at Poly as the two "in" spots to watch football.

Mervo coach John Blake said he is comfortable with sharing the field and the improved facilities.

"That's a sacrifice I'll take," Blake said as a grin spread across his face.

edward.lee@baltsun.co

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