When it was originally announced that the Lehman Cavaliers would play their homecoming football game on Bob Heil Field behind the school this Friday night, there was broad conjecture over how a number of logistical issues would be handled.
High on this list was the installation of temporary lights. Many wondered if this had ever been attempted locally and the answer dates back to 1929, about a month after the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression.
On Friday, Nov. 22, 1929, a 7:30 kickoff was scheduled at Sidney’s Julia Lamb Field for a game that did not involve either the Sidney Yellow Jackets or the Holy Angels Titans. This contest was between two adult football teams, as those were very popular in that era.
The Warriors of Schine’s Ohio Theatre engaged a team from Toledo with 50 floodlights providing the illumination. “Bright as day through courtesy of Ohio Electric Power Co,” proclaimed the Sidney Daily News. Keep in mind that this is over five years before Major League Baseball’s first night game, and eight years prior to Julia Lamb getting permanent lights.
The Warriors practiced under the lights the night before the game in front of several hundred spectators. Friday afternoon’s SDN analyzed, “The field itself presented a beautiful appearance and left no doubt in anybody’s mind but what the players and ball will be easily discernible at all times.”
The locals won easily 42-0. SDN estimated that 600 fans paid admission ranging from a quarter to $1.25, while also claiming that a similar number watched from the ends of the field on the “no pay plan,” thus preventing the financial success of the one time event. No specifics as to cost or profit were revealed in the local press.
Several weeks ago Lehman Athletic Director and head football coach Dick Roll announced that admissions would be collected for Friday’s game as each vehicle enters school property, thus minimizing or perhaps eliminating the “no pay plan” that prevented a similar successful venture almost 86 years earlier.
Dave Ross is a local sports historian and frequent contributor to the Sidney Daily News.