WATERVILLE — At quarter to 6 Friday night, a dozen or so people had already staked out space on the sidewalk in front of Gilman Place. It was prime real estate for watching the impending Waterville Senior High School homecoming parade.

The parade preceded the night’s main attraction, the first night football game in the history of Waterville’s Drummond Field.

“I am so excited,” Tricia Gaudette said.

Gaudette is a longtime Waterville sports supporter. Her son Josh played football for Waterville before graduating in 2010. “I’ve been to plenty of night games, but at home it’s special,” she said.

While this was the first night game at Drummond Field, it wasn’t the first home night game in Waterville High history. When the Panthers played on North Street in the 1950s, they played under the lights.

Louis Pelletier, a referee for the game against Oceanside on Friday night, played for Winslow High School in the last game under the lights at Waterville’s North Street field in 1958.

“I got thinking about that, looking back,” Pelletier said. “It was a big event.”

The game was the highlight of Waterville’s homecoming activities. At 6 p.m. – an hour before kickoff – the homecoming parade got rolling at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Gilman Street and continued to Messalonskee Avenue. From there, it went past the high school on Brooklyn Avenue and ended at Drummond Field.

Once the pre-game festivities were completed, Oceanside then went out and held off Waterville, 33-28.

Twelve light poles were set up around Drummond Field, including five on each sideline, one at the concession stand and another at the Brooklyn Avenue entrance.

The lights came on at 6:20 p.m. Mats used in track and field were placed around the poles to protect players from injuries.

Purple Panthers head football coach Matt Gilley, along with the program’s booster club, was instrumental in bringing lights to Drummond Field. Gilley asked some neighborhood residents around Drummond Field if they would be OK with a Friday night game. Gilley said he received nine responses, eight in favor of the night game.

The cost of lights came to about $1,100, Gilley said. The school received a $500 donation, while the booster club raised the remaining $600.

When Lolita Day arrived at Drummond Field to take her post in the ticket booth, she was greeted by fans waiting in line.

“I got here at 5:30 and there were people waiting,” Day said.


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