Thursday, April 17, 2014
READFIELD — Friday night’s playoff game between Freeport and host Maranacook at the Ricky Gibson Field of Dreams was just what the field’s namesake had envisioned.
Gibson died of brain cancer at age 16 two years ago before he could see his Black Bears play under the lights he set into motion getting for the school with his dying wish. He may have been the only one who thought someday the Maranacook community would rally around its football team the way it has this season.
The team is 8-1 and still alive in the Class C playoffs following Friday night’s 30-6 win. Gibson would have loved that, but he would have taken more pleasure in the rabid fan base that’s built up at Maranacook. The lights came first, then the stands and press box and finally the fans.
Maranacook is barely prepared for the onslaught of fans this season. The snack shack is jammed and so are the stands, including a rabid student cheering section. There’s a pep band that was never there before and there’s a traffic jam after every game. Not that anyone is complaining.
Maranacook has never been a football school but it’s one now and everyone from the players to the fans to the coaches is loving it. There’s really nothing like Friday night football to create some interest. And everyone involved can thank Ricky Gibson for that.