Holland Field Closes Era: 1950-2018
FARMINGTON — Friday marked the end of an era as Farmington football played its final varsity game at Allen Holland Field.
The stadium named for Allen Holland, who coached the Cardinals from 1969-1991, will be retired with construction underway on a new state-of-the-art $15-million Cardinal Stadium with turf, complete with 60-yard indoor workout field and a track adjacent to the new high school along State Highway 170 in the southwest corner of Farmington.
With Holland as head coach, Farmington went 189-37, winning back-to-back state championships in 1972 and 1973, with four state semifinal appearances and 13 consecutive district titles.
In 1973, Farmington executed its only perfect season in history and from 1972-1974, teams rattled off 34 consecutive wins, which still ranks 12th on the longest consecutive win steak in Arkansas football history.
“It’s certainly closing a very historic chapter for the school and community.”
Bryan Law Superintendent, Farmington Schools
Holland was inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009.
The school district celebrated the end of the 68-year era, 1950-2018, by inviting all alumni who participated in some way on Allen Holland Field, whether they were football players, cheerleaders, dancers or band members, to come to the game.
Prior to the game, Farmington football, cheer and dance alumni were treated to a chili supper at the old high school, which is now Farmington Junior High School. Band alumni were invited to a special pre-game band meal with band Director Jim Spillars.
Alumni were recognized during half-time festivities, starting with any who played, danced, cheered or marched on the field from the beginning to the present. Alumni, grouped by the decades, walked to the middle of the field to be honored. By the end of the program, alumni stood next to each other stretching from one end of the football field to the other end.
Clayton Williams, Farmington High School assistant principal and longtime Cardinals’ football announcer, shared a brief “unofficial” history of Farmington’s football program garnered from old newspapers and yearbooks. Farmington first tried to field a team in 1950, Williams said. The 1950s and 1960s were a tough time for Cardinal football but in the 70s, the school saw a “rise to power of football might.”
A special presentation also was made during the game to recognize former coaches, including Holland, his son Jay Holland, who served as head coach 199298, and Bryan Law, who came to Farmington as the head football coach in 1999 and now is school superintendent. Other coaches in Farmington history include Rex Brown, Roger Nettles, Delmar Ferrell, Charlie Phillips and current coach Mike Adams.
“Tonight we don’t just celebrate a 68-year-old football field, but we celebrate the many coaches, athletes, spirit squad members, band members, parents, and community members that have given countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears to develop their skills and a sense of pride in this community,” Williams said at half-time. “And for that we thank you and salute you.”
Law, who was football coach from 1999-2003 before moving into an administrative role, said the evening was “bittersweet” to him.
“It’s certainly closing a very historic chapter for the school and community,” Law said as he watched the third quarter of Farmington’s game against Harrison on Friday night. “It’s exciting that this has been a wonderful place. Many great ballgames and a lot of a great teams have played on this field.”
However, Law noted, the support for a new upgraded football stadium and the positives in that new facility certainly offset the nostalgia of leaving a football field with lots of good memories.
Allen Holland said it’s time for Farmington to move to a new larger facility.
“This field has come a long way since the old days,” Holland said. “It’s served its purpose. They’ve outgrown this field.”
He added, referring to construction of a new stadium, “It’s a great thing they are doing across the road.”
Jay Holland, who played for the Cardinals during the 1982-84 seasons and now is superintendent for Lamar School District, said he recalls special moments as a player and then again as a Farmington football coach.
As a player, his sophomore and senior years stand out because the teams made it deep into the state playoffs and finished with 12-1 seasons. During his junior year, Farmington lost to Turrell during the first round of the state play-offs. His senior year, however, Farmington turned around and defeated Turrell at Turrell’s field in a state play-off game.
From a coach’s perspective, Jay Holland said the special moments are too many to list. His motivation coming out of college, he said, was to have an impact on kids’ lives.
“There’s a special bond between coaches and players and it lasts a lifetime,” Jay Holland said. “You never forget the kids who played for you. You never do.”
Law said the school district does not have any special plans for Holland Field and the practice field adjacent to it. Both fields will continue to be used as a practice field for junior high football and junior high band.
Ultimately, he said he believes a new school building will be constructed on one of the fields as the school district continues to grow.
School officials have not announced a formal name for the new football facility, except to call it Cardinal Stadium for now.
These three Farmington football coaches represent 34 years of football seasons at Allen Holland Field in Farmington. Bryan Law, left, served as coach 1999-2003, Allen Holland from 1969-1991 and Jay Holland from 1992-1998. Farmington varsity football played its last home game at Holland Field on Friday night.