Hol­land Field Closes Era: 1950-2018

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter and Mark Humphrey

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.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

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.

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