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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

DeGol Field – Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash Football


Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

DeGol Field 172 St. Catherine St. Loretto, PA 15940



Year Opened: 2005

Capacity: 3,450

 

Flashy Football

In between Altoona and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, you will find the small town of Loretto, home to the campus of St. Francis University. Hidden among the pines on the SFU campus, you will find DeGol Field, which is home to the Red Flash football team as well as several other teams. Although sports have been played on this site for quite some time, the current incarnation of DeGol Field opened in 2005 and was named after donors Bruno and Lena DeGol. The stadium is located in a scenic setting known as the Pine Bowl for the surrounding trees.


Food & Beverage 3

There is one concession stand set up at a table by the entrance selling basic options such as cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and walking tacos, as well as snacks such as chips and candy. Bottled water and soda are available, but alcohol is not. The prices are all very affordable with nothing more than $5 or so, and the selection is decent but not as extensive as at larger venues. Keep in mind the stand only takes cash, so come prepared.


Atmosphere 3

As noted, DeGol Field is located in a scenic setting among pine trees, but that does not mean it is a calm atmosphere here. A marching band plays before the game and at halftime as well as sometimes in between plays during the game. There is a mascot named Frankie the Friar who has a rather creepy-looking grin on his face but always keeps the crowd engaged. St. Francis has cheerleaders as well.

Frankie the Friar Mascot, Photo by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


As for the stadium itself, there are two sets of bleachers, one on each side. Most fans sit in the larger set of bleachers on the home side, but some sit on the visiting side, mostly fans of whoever the Red Flash are playing that day. There is a small scoreboard on one end which shows only the most basic information, while the other end just has a play clock. This means that if one team is driving down the field late in the half, you may need to keep switching your attention from the action to the clock as it winds down.


Neighborhood 2

Loretto is a small town with not much going on. There was a pizza place directly across from the stadium, and signage is still there, but it has closed. Downtown Loretto, if you can even call it that, is a short walk or drive off-campus, but there are only a few options. Spanky’s Tavern and Loretto Pub and Grill are right across the street from each other at the intersection of St. Mary Street and St. Peters Street, and there are a couple of small hotels in town, but if you want anything more, you will have to drive 25 minutes to Altoona or 35 minutes to Johnstown, both of which have significantly more options.


Fans 4

St. Francis fans pack the home side of the bleachers every game and cheer on the Red Flash. They are active and loud and seem to really enjoy the game. Many of them arrive hours early to tailgate and make it a full-day experience. The away bleachers are rarely close to full, but the fans on the home side of the stadium are active and engaged and the stadium is a sea of red on game day.


Access 2

St. Francis is located 25 minutes from Altoona and 35 minutes from Johnstown via U.S. Route 22. Once you get off Route 22, you still have to drive a few miles to get to campus along rural back roads. Most of the streets in town are named for Catholic saints in connection to the university, which amusingly confuses some GPS apps which can’t handle “St.” standing for two different things in the same name. Some apps will attempt to refer to the streets as, for instance, “Street Catherine Street” or “Saint Catherine Saint.”


Once you are on campus, parking is available in two lots by the JFK student center for $5, cash only. From there, it is a short walk down a hill to the stadium. There is a very limited amount of parking available right next to the stadium for $25, which must be reserved well in advance by calling the ticket office. However, it is not worth the expense as the $5 parking is very close as well and the lots shouldn’t fill up.


There are real restrooms available in one corner of the stadium, plus random port-a-potties scattered throughout for some reason.


Return on Investment 5

Tickets are only $10, or $5 for children, and concessions are very affordable. That is a great value for Division I football, even if it is at the FCS level. The $5 for parking is disappointing but not outrageous, and when you consider the overall value, it is still a great deal to go to a Red Flash football game. Note that the ticket window, concession stand, and parking are all cash only, so be prepared.


Extras 2

There are free programs available at the entrance to the stadium.


A second and final star for the extremely affordable prices here, it is truly a great deal.


Final Thoughts

DeGol Field is a great chance to see affordable Division I football in a bucolic setting. Although the stadium is small, it is still a great experience here. Loretto isn’t really close to anything, so you will have to drive a bit to get here, but it is well worth it.

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