It was a special night at Cassadaga Valley on Sept. 28 when the Cougars hosted their first-ever night football game. It happened with temporary lights and everything went off without a hitch.
''From everything I heard, there was nothing but positive comments from people in the community and people in the school,'' said athletic director Mark Petersen.
He only heard about how things went that night because he wasn't there. Peterson was in Falconer watching his son, Kyle, play football for the Golden Falcons.
''It was tough because I really wanted to be there, but I wanted to watch my son play, too,'' Petersen said.
But thanks to text messages, he somewhat knew how things were going.
''I got one at halftime and one in the third quarter and the rest of the time I was wondering,'' Petersen said.
There was only one kink that night.
''The only thing was the referees did say there were a couple of spots on the field where it was dark,'' Petersen said.
And there was only one kink for Cassadaga Valley head coach Nick Spitzer.
''Other than the loss (to Westfield), everything went great,'' he said. ''It was a great turnout and great community involvement.''
It was a change in routine for the players, who are used to play home games on Saturdays at 1:30 p.m.
''The guys seemed very focused and driven to perform well,'' Spitzer said. ''Unfortunately, things didn't go the way we wanted them to. But other than that, it was a great night.''
Spitzer said he could sense his players knew it was more than a normal home game.
''They were amped up, they were excited,'' he said. ''There was also the element of pressure, too. A lot of pressure to perform when you have a game at home of that magnitude.''
The Cougars had never played before such a large home crowd.
''It looked like there were 2,000 people up here,'' Spitzer said. ''I saw older people from the community that I haven't seen at games. My elementary students (he teaches elementary physical education), there must have been 200 elementary students at the game with their parents. There was an immense amount of people and it looked like they just kept coming.''
Petersen noted, ''Our student body, that we don't have great support from on Saturdays, was out in force on Friday night. It was unbelievable.''
It took a while to make the first night game at Cassadaga Valley happen.
''We started putting the pieces together last May, but we didn't get board approval until quite a bit later,'' Petersen said.
Quite a bit later was August and then the game had to be switched from Saturday afternoon to Friday night on the Section 6 schedule.
''That took a lot of phone calls,'' Petersen said. ''We had to get sectional approval and they were good with it.''
But then came a major problem.
''The first problem we came up with was they had no officials,'' Petersen said. ''Once the schedules come out, they assign everything in the summer and we were actually pretty late trying to move that game to a Friday. Once we got approval from our school board to change it, every official on that Friday night was booked.''
Eventually, officials were found, but Petersen noted, ''I tried to get the game on a Saturday night. It would have been perfect. I could have had my pick of officials that night. But they wanted to to 'Friday Night Lights' and son of a gun, they pulled it off.''
''They'' refers to the members of the football booster club, who are the primary reason the first night football game at Cassadaga Valley was a huge success.
''The booster club did everything and they just did a wonderful job,'' Petersen said. ''They handled everything from getting the lights, setting them up, putting in fencing. They were just organized from the get-go.''
Spitzer said, ''I can never say enough good things about our booster club.''
The coach also wished he could have enjoyed more of what the boosters did.
''You're so involved in the game, I guess I wished I had taken the time to take it all in,'' he said.