first ever nighttime home game will go in the books as a 24-12 loss to arch-rival , but the Friday night lights experience was not overshadowed.
"This is so much fun," said Ann Mackinnon, head of the Southwest Booster Organization, while working the Laker merchandise stand during the game. "The community, the boys are pumped and I'm just having a blast."
Mackinnon and others close to the program cooked up the idea of a night game last season.
"We were envious of going to other games and seeing the night games and how much fun it was," Mackinnon said. "(Tonight has) been fantastic,"
Sadly, though, the lights are only a temporary installation . Permanent fixtures are too much for the Lakers' budget. There was loud hip-hop and pop music blaring from the PA system, spotlights panning the crowd of around 3,000 to 4,000, and even a few fireworks were set off in nearby backyards.
For a school that has just two true home games this season, Southwest stands to benefit financially from increased concession, merchandise and ticket sales just based on Friday’s game.
"This is going to be a huge boost for us to hit our revenue goal for the year," Mackinnon said.
Then there was the game. An important game, nonetheless, between last year’s co-champions of the Minneapolis City Conference. The winner of this game would become the instant favorite to win the conference this season, said Lakers defensive coordinator Ryan Stockhaus.
The Millers took an 18-12 lead into half time and tacked on another six while shutting down the Lakers in the second half for the 24-12 win. Sophomore running back Jeffrey Jones scored three touchdowns to help lead Washburn in the win.
“That was exciting,” Stockhaus said. “That was such an amazing atmosphere. I just kept saying, ‘This is what it’s all about. Let’s go make something crazy happen under the lights.”