The turf, which was laid this week, is cushioned by ground-up rubber from athletic shoes called Nike Grind.
The Roughriders hit the gridiron at 7 p.m. to take on the La Grande High School Tigers in the first 2010 4A playoff game.
They lost 36-27, but everyone at Roosevelt said they were grateful for their new turf.
Until the field was in place, the Roughriders played and practiced on their worn and muddy fields or at other schools.
For the football players who took the field for the first time last night to practice, it was a marvelous place to play.
“It feels good because when I was in middle school, I played for Roosevelt. It was always like grass and dirt. So, it feels better to have turf here and everybody comes and sees us play,” said Roosevelt running back Isiah Jones.
The Roughriders’ coach said it was fun to watch the players try out the turf.
“They were like little kids, running around, making snow angels on the turf,” said Christian Swain, Roosevelt’s football coach. “They’ve been waiting for a long time. They’ve watched the project kind of take shape. They’ve been kind of waiting to get on it and last night we gave them the go-ahead.”
Formers Roosevelt High School graduates came out to be a part of the new turf dedication.
“This is a beautiful field and this is a beautiful opportunity to grow as a community,” said Jerry Johnson who graduated in 1984.
“I think this is going to give life to the community and I think this community — you see how all these people showed up tonight and turned out, I think this is what’s going to get behind them,” added Johnson.
District officials said the field became a reality because of a $200,000 contribution from the city of Portland, $321,000 from Portland Public Schools, $200,000 from Nike and other donations.
Nike also contributed new football uniforms and T-shirts for Friday’s dedication.
A dedication ceremony was held before kickoff with the game ball being flown in on Air 12 by FOX 12 anchor Wayne Garcia.