Friday night lights shine bright on Truman High School’s first ever home football game

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- The Friday night lights were bright across the metro, but perhaps no game was more meaningful than the one played at Truman High School in Independence, Mo.

For more than five decades, the Truman Patriots have never had a football stadium of their own – until now.

They christened their brand new turf field as they hit the gridiron against their arch rivals, the William Chrisman Bears, Friday night.

“We all feel like this is our own, so nobody can come here and take it from us,” said senior Billy Wiser, who stood in the student section to cheer on his team.

Since the school opened back in 1964, they’ve never truly had home field advantage. Instead, they’ve played their home games at the all district stadium located at William Chrisman.

“This was a dream come true,” said Roger Pauk, a former Truman football coach, “because I remember getting on the buses and traveling over to the Independence all school stadium every Friday or Saturday to play.”

“So this is great that we can have a field and have our own!” he added. “This is Truman’s home now!”

It’s a home that cost $2.7 million to build, complete with bleachers, restrooms, concessions and a press box.

“It’s about school pride,” said Dale Herl, superintendent, “and having a sense of belonging and a place to call your own home.”

Sharing in that pride was Jason Pritchett, a country music star and Truman High football alum, who returned to the field to sing the national anthem.

“To pull in to the brand new stadium that we didn’t have when I was here,” Pritchett said, “to be a part of that, it makes you proud to be a Truman alumni, you know?”

Herl said it took about three years for the stadium to come to fruition, and the school board did not ask taxpayers to help financing it. Instead, he said they found all the money needed within their budget.