The sounds of pads cracking, whistles blowing, and coaches yelling are familiar this time of year. But the sights of an Alden High School football practice are different this summer.
"I know for sure I've never been on a high school football field that's been any other color than green," said head coach Rob Currin.
The district installed a new synthetic turf field this summer. After a community vote, they decided to make the field blue rather than green.
"I don't think any other high school has blue turf, and the only other school I can think of is Boise State," said senior quarterback Lucas Bush.
Alden actually received permission from Boise State University to bring in the blue field. The Broncos' famed home turf at Albertsons Stadium is trademarked, so Alden's new look is a first for any school in Western New York.
"It sets us apart, it's unique. And I think that creates some contagious enthusiasm to be honest," Currin said.
And the Bulldogs hope it can also create a home field advantage, joking their blue home uniforms might blend in with their surroundings and give opponents a tougher time tracking them down.
"It's definitely a different kind of atmosphere coming into this and hopefully that will intimidate opponents," Bush said.
Sandy Gauthier, Alden's co-athletic director, says the field also has practical advantages for the entire school.
"Physical education classes can come out in the spring, when the spring is very wet. Softball, baseball can come out and obviously football, soccer can use it all the way through the rainy seasons," Gauthier said.
The field upgrade will cost $2.8 million as part of a larger capital improvement project. It'll also include a new track soon-to-be-installed, along with plenty of Bulldog pride.
"This new complex hopefully will make kids want to play, and say 'I want to play on the turf,'" Bush said.
Alden will hold a grand opening cermony for the complex during Homecoming weekend on October 4.