August 15, 2014 1:52:19 PM
WEST POINT -- Fans attending the "Meet the Green Wave" event Thursday night at McAllister Field experienced more than they bargained for.
While each member of West Point High School's football program, from the seventh grade team all the way to the varsity, were introduced as promised, the paying fans were treated to a show they didn't expect. During the event, crews from Rainey Electronics arrived and installed the Green Wave's massive new scoreboard. It features the eighth Jumbotron screen in the state.
"It's going to look amazing," West Point senior quarterback Dason Thomas said. "When we first heard about it, we were excited. Seeing it, it's even bigger than we thought."
The scoreboard, which is nearly three times larger than the one that has stood at McAllister Field for more than 20 years, is 32 feet wide and 27 feet high and stands in the stadium's southwest corner. More importantly, it features a 16-by-9 video screen that will set West Point apart from its North Mississippi contemporaries.
"It's the only one in North Mississippi," said West Point head coach Chris Chambless, who is 85-22 in eight seasons with the Green Wave. "We started talking about this two seasons ago, and we made the decision after the 2013 season to move forward. It's unreal."
The scoreboard, which was purchased with a mixture of private donations and advertising revenue, was approved by the West Point School Board in June.
"The thing I'm most proud of is we were able to do it at zero cost to the district," Chambless said.
The screen will be used to display instant replays, highlight packages, player introductions, and sponsorships, among other uses.
Additionally, the scoreboard features LED lighting and "looks 10 times brighter than what we had," Chambless said.
The unit was purchased from and installed by Rainey Electronics, an Arkansas company responsible for all eight scoreboards like it in the state.
The scoreboard and video screen will need plenty of manpower. That's where West Point's student body steps in. In need of at least three camera operators and two operators for the scoreboard and video screen, Justin Vollenweider, the district's media specialist, turned to his students.
"All of the work will be done by students from our advanced media class," Vollenweider said. "I will be operating the main board, but the rest of it -- camera work, scoreboard, and a few other jobs -- will be done completely by students."
West Point's new scoreboard will be officially unveiled Aug. 22 for the football team's season opener against Grenada.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brandon Walker on Twitter @BWonStateBeat