Rockets to Blast Off Next Season with New AstroTurf Field

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CONVERSE, Texas -- The face of high school coaching in Texas is getting a facelift, so to speak. D.W. Rutledge Stadium, named for the iconic Judson High School football coach, recently upgraded their facility with a new, state-of-the-art field from AstroTurf®, the originator of the synthetic turf industry. Installation was completed back in January, ensuring the stadium would be ready for its full slate of sporting events this spring.

The artificial surface is AstroTurf's GameDay Grass™ 3DH product line. The field combines the innovative features of the Horseshoe™ fiber with AstroTurf's patented RootZone® technology. The monofilament Horseshoe fiber has an omega shape, which is more resilient and bounces back, helping it stay upright longer. The RootZone is an infill stabilization system comprised of a thatch layer of textured nylon which radically reduces both infill migration and deep cleat penetration. These elements combine to make the 3D system a signature surface for AstroTurf, with top marks for speed, performance, consistency and perhaps most importantly, safety.

"The challenges presented by hosting two high school football teams, numerous UIL events, and daily spring practice meant we needed a field that could handle a heavy workload," said JISD Athletic Director Mike Miller. "The technology behind our new AstroTurf field gives us the confidence to know that D.W. Rutledge Stadium can stand up to frequent use and still look and perform great under the Friday night lights."

The stadium hosts home games for both Judson High School and Wagner High School during the fall football season. It is the site of daily spring practices for the Judson High football team, and UTSA played its annual spring scrimmage at D.W. Rutledge on March 23rd. Upcoming events at the stadium include the UIL Region IV 2A Track and Field meet on April 26th and 27th, as well as numerous AAU track and field events this summer.

That busy spring schedule made it imperative that the field be in place and ready to use on time, and the certified installers at Texas-based AstroBuilders obliged by installing the synthetic turf during the winter break. Installation involved a reconfiguration of the existing stone base for proper drainage and laser-grading to ensure a level playing surface. Owner Kevin Swank admitted that it was a fairly standard project; bear in mind this is coming from the team that recently converted the Alamodome to an AstroTurf baseball field for a historic weekend of Major League Baseball in San Antonio.

Historic terms are required to describe the stadium's namesake and the football program he helmed so successfully. Currently the Executive Director of the Texas High School Coaches Association, D.W. Rutledge coached the Judson High football team to unprecedented heights during his tenure from 1984 until his retirement in 2000. The Rockets amassed a record of 198-31-5 during his 17 seasons while winning four state titles. The former Judson Stadium was renamed in his honor following renovations in 2008.

Starting with his predecessor Frank Arnold, Judson High has won a remarkable six 5A state championships, a feat matched only by Katy High School outside of Houston. Dating back to 1977, the Rockets have compiled 36 consecutive winning seasons, a record they share with Plano Senior High School. Plano's streak is no longer active, meaning Judson can set the new standard with a winning campaign in 2013.

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