In case you are wondering, McEachern High School in Cobb County, was the first public school in Georgia to get turf back in 2004. Jimmy Dorsey was McEachern's head coach at the time, and says the change just made sense.
"You had a stadium that you only used 18 times a year because you didn't want to tear the grass up," remembers Dorsey. “It just solves so much. You can play on that stuff 24 hours a day."
Dorsey also pointed out other benefits, like having the youth teams come to the school, game uniforms and practice uniforms that lasted longer and a cleaner field house because there is less dirt in the player's cleats.
Andy Dyer launched the football program at Archer 11 years ago. While it is one of the newer schools in Gwinnett, the coach is looking forward to spending less time and money on maintenance.
"I spend many hours on a lawn mower throughout the year," says Dyer. "It will allow me to spend that time doing something else. It will also save our program money by not having to maintain a mower or purchase diesel fuel."
Another reason for turf become a must is the addition of new sports. Girls flag football is the newest addition in Gwinnett. After 15 seasons as head football coach at Mill Creek, Shannon Jarvis is now the director of athletics. Once a staunch supporter of natural grass fields, Jarvis has changed his position and is seeing a bigger picture.
"This is not a football issue," says Jarvis. "I feel it is more to do with winter and spring sports, like boys and girls soccer and lacrosse, where these athletes will have access to playing and practicing on a premier playing surface. We are very excited at Mill Creek to potentially have a turf field coming at some point in the future."
The South Gwinnett Comets christened their new turf field with a 36-7 win over Central Gwinnett in their season opener. The Duluth Wildcats are expected to play their first game on their turf field this Friday night against Meadowcreek.
Don't forget, Football Friday's in Georgia returns on Sept. 20 on the Great GPB!