Put aside the final result of last Friday’s football game between Washington and Timberland, it definitely was a night to celebrate.

A strong Timberland team defeated the Blue Jays, 48-0.

But that wasn’t what most folks will remember about the evening.

It marked the first varsity football game on Washington’s new turf field.

Not only is there a new turf field, but there’s also a new track, new bleachers on the visitors side and a new entrance to the stadium.

“I can’t say enough about our school district and our community for the support behind our great facility,” said Washington Football Coach Zach Schneider. “It has to be one of the better facilities in the state. It’s beautiful and I’m tickled to be a part of it.”

Washington High desperately needed a new field and a new track. All the planning and hard work paid off.

“To see the field come together the way it has is very rewarding,” said Washington Activities Director Bill Deckelman. “Everyone I have talked to has said that it’s over the top. It’s really spectacular. I think the visual appearance of the whole facility is what really makes it stand out. The entrance way, the colors, the track, the markings on the field, it all brings it together.”

The name of the facility is Frank Rauch Field at Jim Scanlan Stadium.

It was appropriate, and somewhat ironic, that on the night the new field was celebrated, so too was the 40th anniversary of Washington’s 1973 football team that won the Class 3A state championship.

Many members from the 1973 team were on hand, as were head coach Jim Scanlan and assistant coaches John Carter, Ray Eickmeyer and Tim Crone.

Scanlan’s entire family, including his wife Bonnie, also were on hand.

“It was a very special night. Dad has been looking forward to seeing his former players for many weeks. The 1973 team has a very special place in Dad’s memory, one he will never forget,” said Janel Brown, one of Scanlan’s three daughters. “Dad could not stop smiling all night long. Not only did he enjoy seeing the team, but he also enjoyed spending time with his assistant coaches. Coach Carter, Coach Eickmeyer, Coach Crone and Coach (Ken) Bebermeyer played a big role in building the Washington football program, too. All of those men coached for many years and also impacted the lives and futures of their athletes.

“The cheerleaders of 1973 and the former players who organized the celebration did an excellent job. Everyone seemed to have a great time. Mom said it best after the celebration that in all these years, neither she nor Dad would have ever expected the stadium to be named after him. Our family is very grateful to the Washington School District for all of their hard work and the amazing job they have done at Scanlan Stadium.”

Members of the 1973 team, and their families, got together before Friday’s game for a tailgate party just outside of Scanlan Stadium.

“It was a neat thing for our school to have those guys back. I think they were all excited to be here. It turned into a mini reunion for them. It was like a festival atmosphere,” Deckelman said. “Our coaching staff and kids appreciated having them back. We had a great crowd. Thanks to everyone for coming.”

Approximately 20 minutes before Friday’s game started, 1973 team members Dennis Brune, Carey Curran and Larry Curran spoke to the current WHS team in the locker room.

The entire video of the pregame talk can be found online at www.emissourian.com.

Here’s a bit of what each 1973 Blue Jay player told the current team:

Dennis Brune — “I’m going to tell you what Blue Jay pride means to me. No. 1, it means you work hard, but almost more importantly, you work together. Football is the ultimate team sport, and if you work together, you’ll be successful. No. 2, you never give up, never. You play the whole game. If you play the whole game, you’re going to be in the game. And lastly, be prepared. That’s what your coaches help you with. Luck happens when you’re prepared.”

Carey Curran —  “More than anything I learned is that talent alone does not win football games. That’s what I love about this sport. Hard work, desire and heart win football games. You do what it takes to win. You play with heart and emotion. That’s what made us successful. We were predicted to lose against Helias in the state championship game. They had two all-state sprinters in their backfield. They only had one touchdown. Talent alone does not win football games. We were not the most talented team, but there was nobody in the state who had more drive, preparation, determination and heart on the football field. That’s what makes football special.”

Larry Curran — “Team work, effort, commitment — if you give all three of those and give everything that you can do on every play, you can be successful. Go, Jays.”