The new scoreboard was clear and bright during the Bulldogs’ final home football game of the season. PHOTOS BY RON HARTMAN/THE CHRONICLE

CRESWELL – It’s too bad the fancy new scoreboard at Creswell High School wasn’t able to debut with a big winning splash, as the Bulldogs – trying to go to state for the first time in a decade – lost a one-point thriller to Monroe.

Still, Friday, Oct. 29 was a proud day for the school. The football team may have been on the wrong side of a 30-29 verdict, but the Bulldogs took some major strides this season. The athletic program keeps moving forward, on and off the field, and the Markley Field scoreboard – paid for in full by the Creswell High Boosters Club – is just the latest shining example of that. 

“It’s been a priority of mine since I got here (three years ago),” Creswell athletic director Brandon Standridge said. “(Office manager) Barb (Sears) and her husband were replacing lightbulbs every summer, and with Covid it’s getting harder and harder to find those replacement parts. Week to week we felt like this could be the week it gives out. That wasn’t a good feeling, so we needed to upgrade.” 

The Bulldogs got every last ounce of energy out of their old scoreboard.

“It actually died on us during a JV football game,” varsity coach Scott Worsham said. “Nothing was working, none of the buttons worked. The custodians came out and nobody could get it going.

“There was one more JV game where the officials had to keep the time on the field. But having a new, well-lit scoreboard is a great addition to the program.”

Lori Leavitt, member of the Bulldogs Booster Club, said there was an obvious need. 

“The old scoreboards were out of date,” she said. “The last game with the old scoreboard, the control panel went out and someone patched it up and fixed it. We had ordered hoping we would get it before the start of school, but manufacturing and shipping delays due to Covid ...”

She said the boosters’ impact has increased with the support of school officials.

“We’ve been blessed because the superintendent and boosters have been able to put more money into actual improvements.”

And they have a list.

“We want to replace baseball and softball scoreboards. They are in a state where they can’t be repaired again.”

Leavitt said the investment in school-aged athletes is important.

“We have great kids, and they do really well. Volleyball is headed to state (where they finished fourth). Sports ... it’s so social and helps kids with time management and teamwork and important stuff that applies to high school.”

The boosters have managed to continue fundraising during Covid, although it’s been a challenge. “The past few golf tournaments have been our only fundraisers.” Sponsors include Emerald Valley Dental, Original Grain, Banner Bank, Kendall, The Bean Hopper, Fetters Construction LLC, Marple Excavating, and Hoffstot Insurance Agency.

Last year the Boosters Club had adorned the gym with a Digital Scorers Table, which can be used to show lineups, announcements, ads, or virtually anything the school wants to do with it. 

“I’d like to see the kids get more involved with it,” Standridge said. 

“I think it’s fantastic,” CHS volleyball coach Anna Baltrusch said. “We put up pictures of our seniors on Senior Night. You can put info about opposing teams, their mascots … just about anything. Sometimes we’ve used pictures of all-star kids -- and businesses that sponsor us as well.”

Piece by piece, Creswell keeps giving its athletic department a facelift. 

“We did the sound system a couple weeks ago, which needed an upgrade. We keep chipping away to get our football field up to speed with other schools around us.

“Our goal was to get the scoreboard for Homecoming, but at least we were able to get it for Senior Night for the last game.” 

Standridge was effusive in his appreciation for the boosters.

“We’re so thankful for the Booster Club and their efforts and support,” he said, “for upgrading our facilities when we need it for our student-athletes and for our community.”