POJOAQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Just hours before the fans and the football teams made it to the field for the first high school game of the season, one team doubted they would even play Friday night because of vandals. But the school and the community came together to make sure the show will go on.
The teams, coaches and fans have waited for this season to arrive and are excited about their opening game. But hours before kick-off, coaches and players at Pojoaque Valley High School got a call they weren’t expecting: their field was vandalized.
“The soccer goal had been tossed, the benches and things were tied up on the goalposts,” said Athletics Director Matt Martinez.
The worst act of vandalism was in the middle of the field — it was covered in oil and gasoline.
“It smelled like gas and oil bad,” said PVHS head football coach Pat Mares. “You could start walking up to the 40-yard line and start getting that aroma of gas and oil.”
The vandals not only hit the football field; they also targeted the concession stand. “Vandalized with cokes thrown and spilled and whatnot,” said Martinez.
The mess appeared to be too big of a task to clean up before Friday night’s kickoff. There was even talk of canceling the game.
“When those boys walked up, I saw the tears in their eyes,” said Mares. “I felt bad for them because they’ve worked their tails off to make it to today.”
“Why us?” asked Martinez. “Why Pojoaque Valley?”
But the school and the community refused to call it quits. Custodians and contractors got to work quickly, hand-scrubbing the oil and gas out of the football field and making sure everything looked as if nothing happened.
Even people across town called to ask how they could help. “It’s a great valley and we come together,” said Martinez.
They were able to clean it just in time. A victory for the school before even playing a game. “Little things like this hinder us but we’re gonna jump and rise above,” said Mares.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. No word yet if they have any suspects.
Pojoaque Valley is hosing Shiprock on Friday night. Game time is at 7:00 p.m.