BOULDER — Zero week for the high school football season kicks off in just four weeks. As we do every fall, the 9NEWS sports department will be bringing you coverage from stadiums all across the state. But that got us thinking -- Colorado is home to some pretty incredible arenas.
That's why we created 'Fanscape,' a summer series where we take you to some of our favorite high school football stadiums in Colorado. From the eastern plains to the mountains, southern Colorado to the Wyoming border and everywhere in-between, our state's football landscape boasts beautiful environments, traditions and history.
Our first every Fanscape introduces fans to Christian Recht Field in Boulder, Colo. Who better to tell us about it, than someone who's played and coached there? Fairview football head coach Tom McCartney is going on his 26th season with the Knights, but has called the stadium home turf for much longer than that.
"My father, Bill McCartney, was hired to be the head football coach at the University of Colorado, and we moved here in the summer of 1982," he said. "I attended Boulder High [and] loved it. When I had a chance to play my first Friday night under the lights there, I just remember what an awesome setting, what a great place to play football."
Nestled at the base of the University of Colorado campus and walking distance to Folsom Field, Christian Recht Field was first erected in the 1930s. Today, it serves as the home turf for both the Fairview Knights and Boulder Panthers.
"When you step on that field, all of the coaches and players, they would tell you, 'This is beautiful, this is awesome,'" McCartney said. "People like scheduling Boulder and Fairview just because they want to play one of those games on the field."
Both of the teams receive an extra "home" field advantage -- even when they're in their away jerseys. The Boulder-Fairview rivalry is one of the oldest in the state. To this day, the game draws thousands from the community. This year, the Knights and Panthers open the season against one another on Friday, August 24, at 5:30 p.m.
"The game always brings the student-body, brings the community [and] the fans, so it's just the best setting to be in, Friday night under the lights," McCartney said.
Since his days as a player, the field has undergone some significant changes. In 2003, the stadium underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, which included replacing the field with artificial turf. It has since replaced that turf with a newer one. Just last year, a new press box was constructed on the east side of the stadium, which is the visitor's side.
"It affects the chain gang and some different things, but no matter where you sit, with the trees, the views, they're all around you," McCartney said.
Some familiar football names have played on Christian Recht Field. Famous football alumni from Boulder include Hale Irwin - former CU football great turned professional golfer, and Dick and Bobby Anderson. The brothers were all-Americans for the Golden Buffaloes in the 1960s. Dick went on to play for the Miami Dolphins where he won two Super Bowl championships, while Bobby was drafted and played for the Denver Broncos.
Tony Boselli, a five-time pro bowler with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was a Fairview High School grad, along with former Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano, and Los Angeles Rams assistant head coach, Joe Berry.
"We think, you know, you can't go wrong to see your team play, whether it's Boulder [or] whether it's Fairview," McCartney said. "I think you'll enjoy the game, I think you'll really love the setting."