Blue-Gold game officially moves to Friday night

Gold’s Trey Hatfield of Sussex Tech gets tackled by a Blue defender. Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

NEWARK — For the first time in its 64-year history, the Blue-Gold senior all-star football game was played under Friday Night Lights.

And that’s when it will continue to be played.

The Blue-Gold game is officially moving to Friday night from now on after years of being contested on Saturdays.

The first time was this Friday when the Gold team rallied for a 38-24 victory over the Blue to extend its winning streak to three years in a row. Next June’s edition will be the 65th all-time game which benefits the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with intellectual disABILITIES (DFRC).

The two main reasons behind the switch are money and a hope that it will increase player participation.

DFRC executive director Tony Glenn said this week the DFRC spent three years studying the feasibility of if Friday nights would work. It received the final approval from coaches this year to give it a shot.

“There’s just no reason to keep the guys hanging out on a Saturday when we can go play Friday night,” Glenn said. “The coaches and camp directors said we absolutely can do this Friday night.”

Shortening the camp means the DFRC saves $8,000 by not having the players staying in the University of Delaware’s residence halls an extra night.

A byproduct of playing on Friday night meant the cancellation of the annual banquet for the game.

While the DFRC liked having the banquet for players, it saves another $8,000. That means more money for the DFRC to help out the 16 different statewide programs it assists.

“For the programs who come and seek money, boy that’s a lot,” Glenn said.

The DFRC has raised $6 million since the game started in 1956.

It is the third-longest all-star game of its kind in the nation and the longest which benefits the same cause.

That cause is amplified by the DFRC’s hand-in-hand program. Each of the 72 players is paired with a buddy (ages 4-18) through the DFRC.

This year’s Gold coach Dan Candeloro of Caesar Rodney said he missed the extra day of practice but the change could be worth it to increase player and fan turnout.

“It does make it a little harder for us coaches,” Candeloro said. “Just in terms of installs and things like that.”

The game typically overlaps with the Firefly Music Festival in Dover during the same weekend. That has made it difficult traffic-wise for downstate parents and fans to get to the game Saturday nights sometimes.

The change also allows families to free up their weekends in case a trip to the beach or Firefly was scheduled.

Attendance this Friday was 7,003, possibly hurt by ongoing construction at the University of Delaware’s Stadium. Only one side of bleachers was opened and some parking lots were closed due to the facility upgrades taking place this summer.

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