As another season of high school football approaches, the question of turf vs. natural grass emerges once again. Turf is becoming more popular as synthetic surfaces improve, but it is not for everyone.
Natural grass fields have to be painted and cut each week before players can step on to the gridiron on Fridays. It takes a crew of three men about two hours to stripe a field. Some schools are doing away with this process completely.
Lamar County High School is one of the first schools to lay down turf in the area.
"When we factored in the fact of watering, striping and all that stuff, long nights that the coaches would have to put in, the turf out weighted the grass field," explained Lamar County Principal Derick Austin.
Turf fields are not maintenance free. The surface has to be brushed often. Schools are turning to the artificial fields when several sports play on one site, such as at Mercer University.
"You know the best option for us was to go with the turf mainly because of our all-around use," said Mercer Athletic Director Jim Cole.
A turf field can be costly. According to one manufacturer's website, prices can range from $700,000 to $800,000 for a field with a lifetime of 8-10 years.
Although three fields are used for all the high schools in Bibb County, they are not considering laying down turf.
"Our people, our athletic facility supervisors, they do a great job with it," said Bibb County Athletic Director Eddie Ashley. "They're looking better than they ever have. I came last year and never heard anything about thinking about turf right now."
For now, the choice depends on the situation, but no matter what the gridiron is made of kick-offs on Friday nights will be just as exciting.