JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - As construction continues on the historic Tomato Bowl in Jacksonville, the high school football team is unable to play any home games this season. But that’s not stopping them from being a part of the tomato tradition.
During this season’s “home games”, the team will carry a box painted just like the red stone wall of the stadium. Inside the box sits a rock from the Tomato Bowl that players will tap before heading out of the locker room.
“It’s a special place for our kids,” said Head Coach and Athletic Director Wayne Coleman. “That’s one of the reasons we want to keep it with us as much as we can.”
Coach Coleman says the box was created through a collaborative effort. His dad took care of the box and rock while art students painted the outside to look just the East Texas landmark. He says once the team returns to the newly renovated stadium next season, the box and rock will remain in the team’s home locker room.
“We don’t want a season to go by where the Tomato Bowl rocks were not a part of our football program,” said Coleman.
The stadium was built as a part of the Federal Works Project back in the 1940′s and has been home to the Indians ever since. Coach Coleman says he hopes the rock will make this season special for his senior players, who won’t get to play their last season in the historic Tomato Bowl.
“They may not remember driving to the stadium for their home games, but they’ll remember us carrying the rock,” said Coleman. "And they’ll end up being the only class that actually got to have this part of the tradition.
Construction on the stadium is expected to be completed by April 1, 2019.