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Thomas Jefferson Vikings win streak continues as field eyesore remains

RICHMOND, Va. -- As the Thomas Jefferson High school football team celebrates another big win this season, the school's aging field has still not been replaced.

Thomas Jefferson faced off against Armstrong High School Saturday in hosting a playoff game for the first time in 50 years.

"It's monumental,” Thomas Jefferson High Principal Darrin Thompson said. "This has taken pride to a new height."

The mighty Vikings are on a winning streak despite the poor conditions that still exist on and off the field.

"This school's worked real hard just on these grounds in trying to make sure we got a level playing field,” Tommy Kranz, Richmond Public Schools Interim Superintendent, said.

2013 rendering of planned improvements

2013 rendering of planned improvements

In 2013, WTVR CBS 6 News reporter Shelby Brown documented the poor conditions at TJ's athletic field: from no lighting, to not enough seating and other maintenance concerns about the aging facility.

At that time, athletic leaders envisioned a new football/soccer field made with AstroTurf and an outdoor field house complete with bathrooms, concession stands, and lights.

But those plans never materialized.

Kranz said those plans were and added cost and "burden to the district."

However, Kranz said some improvements at the school have been made like renovating the locker rooms, replacing the scoreboard and bringing in portable lights as well as upgrading the football field.

"They tried to do a track and you can see the cut out that's on the side that runs along the side here and because of that it kind of slopes some of the corners of the end zone. So, it's not the same as a normal football field would be,” said Kranz.

The field

The field

Kranz said what the school system can afford to invest in is a balancing act.

"That's the challenge that my maintenance team has to make everyday," Kranz said. " There's only a dollar to spend. Once we spend it for the year, it's gone."

Kranz said Saturday's playoff game was a proud moment for RPS.

And for these players, striving for more.

"This is the future. This sets the tone,”  Thompson said.

Thomas Jefferson beat Armstrong 13-12 for their first ever postseason win.  The Vikings will host Culpeper County in the next round.