Beyond the Playbook: Hibbing football has a new home field

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Hibbing football kicked off its last regular-season finale, and their only 2022 game in Hibbing, on Wednesday, October 19 on a new field. The school held a ground opening ceremony for their brand new Dr. Ben Owens Stadium at Cheever Field.

“We have not played here since the Covid season of 2020. It has been a long, long time,” said head coach Shaun Howard.

The color of the new turf field is decorated in blue, white, and grey; the colors of the school. “It has been hard because you get on a bus for every trip. You do not get to have a short trip,” Howard mentioned. “You do not get to just come to the locker room or be able to be home. You are always constantly going on the bus. It’s been a hard time.”

The Bluejackets played all their previous home games at Mountain Iron-Buhl (MIB) High School. The new field was a $2.5 million project that replaced an older field that according to senior running back and linebacker Thomas Hagen, was not in the best shape.

“I remember there was a big mound right in the middle. So, you were kind of running up and downhill. There were a lot of puddles and kind of some holes in the field just getting torn up and stuff. So it was not the greatest.”

It is nothing like having your own space. For the Bluejackets, it was just rough to stay motivated during those times. “Yeah, it was hard. You can definitely tell that for all of last year’s seniors and this year’s seniors, it has been tough on them; because they do not get to have a home game in front of Hibbing. They do not get to see Hibbing, and Hibbing does not get to see them. So it has been kind of hard on them,” Hagen mentioned.

Junior quarterback Nate Gustafson added, “everybody is sleeping and stuff like that. It is kind of like losing focus in the locker room. That is not our locker room. In some of the locker rooms, we can not even go in. It is just not our place.”

And with a new house comes building a tradition and helping to create a legacy. “To show who we are; that we are the Bluejackets. Like, instead of going to the MIB field, not many people know us there; not a lot. We are known here,” Gustafson shared.

For Hagan, he shares that he wants to see all the work that everyone has put in continue to develop as time goes on.

“I hope they just keep doing all the stuff that I have been doing; because I know quite a few of the underclassmen personally, and I know they can if they put in the work, they can be good. So, I am just hoping they keep building on top of what I have left, just leaving the legacy.”

Along with the new football field, the project includes an eight-lane track, and the field will be used for soccer and softball games.