Friday night lights at Bernards hope to be brighter someday, but for now, Mountaineers will live with high-tech on the sidelines

The “temporary” permanent lights at Bernards High School’s Olcott Field don’t soar as high over the playing field as many other schools. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

As we were doing our game prep this week for Friday night’s North 1, Group 2 final between 2-seed Bernards and 5-seed Lakeland (7 pm on CJSR – click here to listen) – we asked Bernards head coach Jon Simoneau about the “temporary” permanent lights at OIcott Field.

If you’ve never been there, they’re temporary lights powered by generators. (Probably also a good source of heat to stand by when it’s cold.) But they’re permanent in that they’re there all the time.

Why? Simoneau says “We play under the Field of Dreams lights.” He says “probably initially” lights may have been an issue for Olcott Field’s neighbors.

But the new lights being installed many places solve that problem. To begin with, they’re LEDs, which are much less expensive to operate. But they also tend to be more directional in nature. Edison just got a similar setup this season.

Will Bernards’ get them? “Now, I think we just have to raise the money,” says Simoneau. “But it’s not easy,” he added.

Nonetheless, it could be an interesting wrinkle when Lakeland comes to town. With the lights more in line of sight of the players, Bernards is used to it. The Lancers may not be, and it could take some getting used to.

Just call it a home field advantage.

That’s not to say the Mounties are hurting. They’ve got a Hudl Box on the sidelines this season, part of an “extra” to the Hudl game film system, which allows the team to watch instant replays right on the sideline.

Somerville had a similar setup in the first season under Jeff Vanderbeek.

Of course, Bernards has proven to be a whiz at technology in the past. In the 2020 COVID season, Offensive Coordinator Jeff Carmon called plays from his couch via Zoom thanks to some help from Verizon Wireless, after coming in contact with someone who had COVID-19.

Click here to read the story we did on it that season. It even won them a postseason Specialty Award from Central Jersey Sports Radio, which you can find by clicking here.

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