STADIUMS AT A GLANCE
Today: Pesonen Stadium at Orono
Location: 795 Old Crystal Bay Road in Long Lake
Tonight's game: 7 p.m. against Glencoe-Silver Lake
Namesake: Oiva "Ike" Pesonen would be rightfully biased including the Spartans' stadium among the metro area's finest. But he makes a strong, objective case.
"It's a beautiful field right now," said Pesonen, who served as the school's first football coach from 1951 to 1979. "It's everything you'd ever want at the high school level. It's a concrete stadium with an all-purpose track around it. And it's got a big scoreboard."
Pesonen's name is on that scoreboard, a tribute to his role in starting the program. He said his teams won 31 consecutive games during the late 1950s and early 1960s before the state tournament format was adopted. He regrets "not having a chance with my best teams to try and show the world."
Now 92, Pesonen has not attended a game in a few years. But he has proudly showed the stadium to visiting relatives.
"They all say, 'Well, we've never had anything named after us,' " Pesonen said with a laugh.
DAVID LA VAQUE