COLUMBIA — Clumps of crab grass spot Father Tolton Catholic High School's football field. There are sets of rented bleachers that are placed on the newly installed pavement. Directly behind the bleachers stands the scaffolding that doesn’t look like a typical press box. To the left of the press box is the concession stand, featuring a roll-in grill and fold-out tables.
“It’s a work in progress,” parents and teachers said.
The football team is too.
Saturday* was the first varsity football game against Valle Catholic High School since Father Tolton High School opened last fall. Because Father Tolton included only freshman and sophomore classes in its first school year, its junior varsity team played home games at other Columbia high schools.
Father Tolton only has about 120 students — freshmen, sophomores and a few juniors. To add some players to the already thin, senior-less roster, Father Tolton also has a couple players who are enrolled at Calvary Lutheran High School in Jefferson City.
But for a small private school, the Tolton families and friends know how to support their school. Some fans wore navy blue to match the color of the jerseys while others wore sky blue to match the numbers on the jerseys.
Father Tolton is pretty serious about its school spirit. Pat Kelly, a teacher and track coach, was slightly unimpressed with one student’s attire.
“You couldn’t wear school colors? Go buy a T-shirt,” Kelly said. T-shirts were for sale at the concession stand.
Many of the sky blue T-shirts had the phrase “Blazing A New Trail” on the back. Tolton'smascot is the Trailblazers.
Playing its first home game on the home field is a start. Losing 61-0 to the defending Class 1 state champions? Well, the fans continued to cheer anyway and defend their players until the last play.
“Bull---! He was down!” one overly enthusiastic Catholic school parent yelled at the referee.
Late in the game, as two reporters walked by another group of parents, one dad said, “Find some positives, man.”
The players were behind, but didn’t stop competing while the fans followed their lead. The first year cheerleading squad didn’t stop competing either. At the end of its first stunt, the girl being held highest fell while coming back down into the arms of her six teammates. Luckily, her teammates shuffled to catch her before she hit the ground.
The Trailblazers continue the season Friday at Southern Boone.
Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.