Moretz Stadium – Lenoir-Rhyne Bears
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Moretz Stadium 1811 N Center St Hickory, NC 28601
Year Opened: 1924
Between the Bricks at Moretz
Fresh off an $18 million stadium renovation that included new stands on the west side, an updated press box, a new videoboard and VIP suites, plus new concessions and restrooms, Lenoir-Rhyne football enters its 116th season poised for success. Known as football “Between the Bricks”, due to the brick construction of their stadium’s stands, the Bears football program began in 1907 and boasts four Championship appearances and five bowl appearances. Currently competing in the South Atlantic Conference of the NCAA’s Division II, the Bears have gone 28-4 over the past three seasons, so the future is definitely looking bright. Lenoir-Rhyne’s home field, Moretz Stadium in Hickory, NC, opened in 1924 and currently has a capacity of 7,500.
Food & Beverage 3
Moretz Stadium doesn’t offer a huge selection of food and beverage items at its concessions stands, but there is plenty to get you by, and there are multiple stands on each side so lines don’t get too long. On offer there are Chick-fil-A sandwiches ($6), Domino’s pizza ($8), and hot dogs ($4), plus nachos with cheese ($5), pretzels ($4), peanuts, candy, chips, or popcorn ($3 each for the latter four). Drinks include bottled water, bottled Pepsi products, and Gatorade, also for $3 each.
Moretz Stadium has a great tailgating atmosphere both in the main parking lot and behind the stadium on the practice field – plenty of fans are out in force long before kickoff, grilling out, playing cornhole, and tossing footballs around, and generally just soaking up the great atmosphere. The facility also feels new and shiny clean, pleasant to walk around and with lots of different vantage points to watch the game from, from the broad concourse above the stands on the east side, to the rowdy Bears student section behind the end zone, to the shady west side with it black chairback seats in some sections.
Bears Student Section, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
The band and mascot also do a great job entertaining fans – the band plays great music and does their signature L-R spellout, while the mascot, Joe Bear, can be seen parading along the west side and revving up the students in end zone. There are also fireworks which go off after every L-R score, and on special occasions they even have a flyover before the game and fireworks after.
Hickory, NC is probably the perfect size city – big enough that there are plenty of restaurant and shopping options, including a mall, but small enough that you don’t have to fight too much traffic. About an hour west of Winston-Salem and an hour northwest of Charlotte, Hickory provides a rural feel with lots of greenery and hills, and plenty to offer the outdoor enthusiast, including activities on the nearby Rhodhiss Lake (which is shaped much more like a river).
The most popular restaurant option for Bears’ fans in town is Kickback Jack’s, which claims to be the only eatery in town with L-R sports “always on”, showing Bears contests on multiple TVs inside, making it a great place to hang out before or after the game. Kickback Jack’s is a sports bar that offers steak, seafood, burgers, and other pub fare, and boasts a great atmosphere inside. It is also a local chain restaurant (with locations in NC and VA only), making it a great option if you are visiting the area from further away.
The fans are great at Moretz Stadium, especially in the student section where the most diehard can be seen sitting on the wall behind the end zone with their legs hanging over. There are also a good number of opposing fans in attendance on the east side, which is more common at this level of football given how close the schools tend to be to each other.
Moretz Stadium is easy to get to and even easier to move around – located on Lenoir-Rhyne’s campus in a quieter part of town (read less traffic), there are multiple roads that come right up to the stadium. If you have a parking pass you can park in the lot right in front of the stadium, which is open for tailgating, or you can park on one of the streets near the stadium and walk up. There is a ticket window on the left side of the main entrance, with will call in a tent set up on the right side; there is also an entrance on the back side of the stadium if you come in that way.
Once you get into the stadium there is plenty of room to move around – the concourses are wide and there is plenty of standing room. The new restrooms are also plentiful and easy to access, and there are new VIP suites in each corner of the south end zone, if you want to get away from the elements.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets to Lenoir-Rhyne football start at just $20, which is a great deal for the beautiful facility you get to enjoy. Plus, with the Bears playing so well of late, you will have the chance to see some great action on the field.
Moretz Stadium offers the typical amenities on average days, such as the band and the mascot, and things like t-shirt tosses during breaks in the action. However, be on the lookout for the special occasion games that include bonuses such as fireworks and the plane flyover (which will be advertised by the school well in advance). But even without those special items, a trip to watch L-R football is more than worthwhile – go Between the Bricks when you can!