With the first regular season football game of 2017 on Friday, Carthage High School opens a new era of athletics and activities at the David Haffner Stadium and Multipurpose Complex.

With the first regular season football game of 2017 on Friday, Carthage High School opens a new era of athletics and activities at the David Haffner Stadium and Multipurpose Complex.
The $10 million stadium was dedicated with a ribbon cutting and open house on Monday, Aug. 7, and hosted its first football activity with the pre-season Jamboree on Friday, Aug. 11.
This Friday, the Football Tigers open their regular season on their new home turf against the only team that beat them in the regular season last year, Ozark.
If the players were feeling any extra pressure, Mason Bryant wasn't showing it at the ribbon cutting where his dad, Carthage Water & Electric General Manager Chuck Bryant, was honored for his role as co-chairman of the campaign to get the public to approve the $10 million bond issue that paid for the stadium.
“We've been preparing pretty well for Ozark the past few weeks and I think it's going to be really fun,” Bryant said outside the gates of the new stadium. “There's a lot of adrenaline in this new stadium, we're going against Ozark and they're a good team. I think we'll bring it, it's going to be fun.”
Bryant said the players were enjoying practicing in and on all their new facilities.
In addition to the new stadium, the complex includes Tigers Field House, with new locker rooms, offices, weight lifting facilities and classrooms, as well as a new practice field on the east side of the stadium.
Even the visiting teams have new locker rooms.
“It's been amazing practicing in the new facility,” Bryant said. “It's really nice compared to the old locker room at K.E. Baker. The locker rooms are so nice, everything's brand new. The field took a lot to get used to at first because we play on grass usually and practice on grass. The turf field, it's really nice and new. There are just a lot of new things out here and it's really nice that the community came together and did this for us.”

Ladies restrooms
The complex is named for David Haffner, the retired Leggett & Platt CEO and Carthage High School Graduate, who gave the district $350,000 for the naming rights.
Haffner, a former Tigers football player himself, said he was inspired to set up a meeting with the R-9 Board and administrators and offer his gift after watching a game at the old K.E. Baker Stadium about three years ago.
“My wife and I happened to go to a really good ballgame at the old field and at halftime she said I need to leave, we need to go,” David Haffner said at the ribbon cutting on Aug. 7. “I said, 'What do you mean.' She said she needed to use the restroom and the nice version of that story is she found the restrooms not acceptable for not just herself but for all fans, all the ladies. It got me thinking, so the next week I called some people at the school and on the school board and asked for a meeting. They had been thinking about a project like this. That was the genesis of my thoughts.”
When Assistant Superintendent Mark Baker announced that there were 28 stalls in the ladies restroom it drew the largest applause at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Connie and I are just a part of it, that's all and we're pleased to be of assistance,” Haffner said. “I knew that the community could use a better facility and as we stand here tonight, it's really nice, not just for the athletes, but for the coaches, the band, the cheerleaders, the pep club, the parents and all of the fans, for all the community, and it's nice to be a part of it.”
Haffner said a football scholarship got him through undergraduate school after graduating from CHS.
“Subsequently, I got some other degrees, but yeah, if it hadn't been for football, I'm not exactly sure that I would have gone to college when I did and where I did,” he said. “But I love football, I pay for it a little bit every day when I get up, but that's okay.”

Other sports
Football is not the only sport that will play at the new stadium.
Jacob Osborn and his Carthage Tigers Boys Soccer Team will take to their new home turf for the first time on Thursday, Aug. 24, against arch-rival Webb City. It's the first of a three-game home-stand with Harrisonville visiting on Friday, Aug. 25 and Neosho coming in on Tuesday, Aug. 29. All starts are at 5 p.m.
Osborn said the adjustment has been big, but the new facilities are nice.
“Every other day we're alternating with football between the turf and the practice field and both are awesome setups for us,” Osborn said. “The turf will help prepare us because playing against most teams in our area, they already play on turf so it's always been an adjustment for us having to go from practice and games on grass to moving over to turf. It's a big adjustment because turf plays a lot faster.”
Girls Soccer will play in the Spring.
The wrestling team has practice facilities and lockers in the Tigers Field House, freeing up two classrooms in Carthage High School to help with a growing student population.
Under the stands are locker rooms for the track teams. Baker said cross country will use the locker room and meeting rooms in the fall while the new track facilities will give Carthage the chance to host district- and state-level meets.
Baker said the district chose a gray track over the standard black or red because it was unique.
“The track originally was going to be a red track.” Baker said. “I did some studying of schools out of Texas they liked the lighter track. Gray is basically one of our school colors, although it is not an official school color. We though it would be a great, unique, aspect to add to our stadium project.”
The Maple Leaf Marching Band Competition will also be moved to Haffner Stadium and the Marching Tigers will benefit from performing on the new field.