Tonight is going to be a historic night for high school football at Cassadaga Valley Central School.
At 7 p.m., the Cougars will kick off a home game under the lights for the first time ever.
"It's something the community is pretty pumped about," Cassadaga Valley Athletic Director Mark Petersen said. "Over the years there have been some lights projects that have never made it to reality. We're excited to have Friday night lights here at Cassadaga."
"It's going to be a historic event for the school," head football coach Nick Spitzer reiterated. "We don't know if it will be the last one or if it's something that will happen in the future as well."
No, permanent lights were not installed at Cassadaga Valley's football field, rather an initiative was made by the Booster Club to bring in portable lights so that the Cougars and Westfield Wolverines could play the homecoming football game on a Friday night.
"We wanted to pick our homecoming game to do it," Spitzer added. "This is homecoming and it's more of a community event. We're going to have a chicken dinner and other aspects to it as well. It's going to be a day-long event starting at 5 p.m."
The Cassadaga community is pumped up and rightfully so, but perhaps no one can match the excitement level of the players.
"It's sure generated some excitement," Petersen said. "I've got a couple of the kids in class. P.J. Boughton is a great player. He just twisted his ankle and doesn't think he can play (today) and he's very disappointed. They're excited to play.
"They practiced under the lights (Thursday)," he continued. "I think they might have been even more excited for that."
Needless to say, the importance of the event is not lost on the players or the coaching staff.
"I tried to touch on that after practice," Spitzer noted. "This team will be remembered as the first team to play under the lights at Cassadaga."
And the importance of the game on the field can't be overstated.
"In terms of our league, every game we have left is huge," Spitzer said. "We really need to perform well. We have to execute everything like I know we're capable of. We take every game serious. It's a league game and it's big regardless of where we're playing or what the conditions are."
With the combination of lights, homecoming and an important Class C South game, both Spitzer and Petersen anticipate a huge crowd.
"I expect a very big crowd," Spitzer commented. "I believe Jamestown and Southwestern are home, other than that, I expect people to come out and support the kids. I hope there's not a light on in anyone's home in Cassadaga tonight."
"I would say we're going to have a real nice crowd," Petersen agreed. "Crowds are generally better at night anyway. There's a lot of people excited about it, that's for sure."
One important note: Spectators are encouraged to park in the lower lot near the auditorium. The upper lot will be closed. Handicap accommodations will be made upon arrival.