By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — They played in front of the crowds, but never saw lights shine on the home field.
Former Pinkerton Academy football standouts George Sheldon, Bryon Murphy and George Tsetsilas paid a visit to the high school’s upper football field last week to talk about the school’s new lights.
Lights are now installed at the field, including the football field and track, just in time for Pinkerton’s home football opener on Friday, Sept. 13, against Manchester Central High School.
“It will be different,” said Murphy, a member of Pinkerton’s Class of 1978.
He has coached Pinkerton football teams and said it will be a totally different experience for the players and the fans.
He said players have already practiced under the lights to get used to the new experience on the home field.
Pinkerton previously played home games on Saturday.
Pinkerton’s financial administrator Glenn Neagle said he was on the field a few weeks ago when the lights were first tested.
“I loved it,” he said. “They looked fantastic.”
The night lights were financed through the Academy’s “Campaign for Excellence” fundraising drive, now in its 20th year. The estimated cost was $150,000.
The light style is similar to the lights now in use at Londonderry High School.
“All the money to put the lights up was raised through fundraisers and contributions from alumni,” Tsetsilas said.
He is the president of Pinkerton’s Alumni Association and also a member of the Class of 1958. He was also a quarterback of a state championship Pinkerton football team.
“A lot of people are very happy,” he said. “It also frees up their Saturdays.”
Tsetsilas said it’s also going to give the upper field a better sense of security with lights now installed.
Athletic director Tim Powers said the new lights are causing some commotion.
“All the students are excited,” he said.
Sheldon graduated from Pinkerton in 1940. He was a classmate of Alan B. Shepard Jr., the first American in space, and also played football for an undefeated team. When he took the field, games were played on the lower campus field, known as the “Oval.”
Sheldon said he is happy to be a part of PInkerton’s past and now its future.
“Pinkerton is a great place,” he said.
There are four home football games this season on Friday nights, along with the annual Mack Plaque and Homecoming contest against Londonderry on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Pinkerton.