Could Connetquot's new stadium open in time?

Connnetquot High School running back Ryan Harvey, right,

Connnetquot High School running back Ryan Harvey, right, gets congratulated by teammates after finding the end zone in the second quarter of a Conference I varsity football game against Commack High School. (Sept. 15, 2012) Photo Credit: James Escher

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Floral Park's Knights are not the only football road warriors this season.

Every day, the Connetquot players get a visual reminder of what they are missing in the 2012 season, namely, a home field.

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"We have our practice field right behind where the construction is being done," Thunderbirds coach Mike Hansen said. "So the kids can watch the progress. Maybe that will make them get it done faster."

Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. A preliminary date for opening the stadium, complete with new turf field and press box, was early September. Now, that projection has been pushed back to mid-October, which conceivably would be in time for Connetquot's final two scheduled home games, against Central Islip and Sachem North. As enticing as that sounds, especially since the game against Sachem North would be the first night game at the new field, Hansen isn't getting his hopes up.

"The [running] track isn't down. The [turf] field isn't down. The lights aren't up," he said. "There's not a lot of optimism right now."

So Hansen, fresh off an upset last week over top-seeded defending county and Long Island champion Floyd that has infused the team, school and community with high hopes for the 2012 season, is taking a different motivational tact. "It's disappointing for the seniors, but we're telling the kids that if we play well, maybe we can get a home playoff game."

If the Thunderbirds' new home field were ready for that game, the weekend of Nov. 2-3, a playoff game would make for quite a grand opening.

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