Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
The Reservation 149 Twin Lake Rd Gaffney, SC 29341
Year Opened: 2008
Football’s Marching Saints
Now in their 7th season, the Limestone College Saints began playing football in 2014, and play their home games at The Reservation, a nearby high school stadium which is mainly home to the Gaffney Indians. The Saints currently compete in the South Atlantic Conference in college football’s Division II.
The Reservation was built in 2008 at a cost of over $8MM but has been renovated since, and now features a turf field, seats for about 10K in grandstands along both sidelines, a small set of bleachers for the band behind one end zone, as well as a large video board behind one end zone and a digital scoreboard behind the other. The facility also features a four-story press box plus two locker rooms, one on each side of the field.
Food & Beverage 3
The Reservation offers typical concessions sold from fixed stands beneath both grandstands, including standards such as hot dogs, pizza, nachos, packaged candy, soda, and bottled water. Like many conferences throughout different levels of college football, the Saints offered an abbreviated spring season in 2021 following the cancellation of football activities in 2020 – concessions are not available during the spring season due to social distancing requirements, but will be available again during games in the fall.
The Reservation is an amazing facility for this level of college football, especially given that it is actually a high school stadium. With clean, modern lines, the grandstands along the sidelines are pulled back slightly from the field, allowing for better visibility for the fans. The small size also provides an intimate atmosphere where you can easily see the action and hear the sounds from the field. The turf is also a great feature, allowing fans to see the graphics in the end zone and the yard markers clearly, without them getting messed up partway through the game by the action on the field, as with many natural grass fields. The trees surrounding the stadium also add to the pleasant atmosphere.
The only reason this section does not earn a higher score is due to the lack of décor for the Saints – most of the graphics in the stadium are for the high school team instead, with only a couple of banners showing support for Limestone College’s club; it would also be nice if the video board showed instant replays instead of only Limestone graphics. Nevertheless, these two items can easily be overlooked by the otherwise great facility in which to watch college football.
If you are looking for something to do before or after the game, Gaffney is a large enough town to offer numerous attractions, and like many college towns there is plenty of fast food available. But for a little better food experience, Harold’s Restaurant (featured on the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives for its world-famous chili burgers and hotdogs – yes, that’s how they spell it) is less than 3 miles from The Reservation, or you can also try Fatz Café, a South Carolina local favorite featuring Southern cuisine. Or if you are in the mood for barbecue, which is always something to try when visiting the Carolinas, check out Daddy Joe’s Beach House BBQ & Grill – looks a bit like a dive, and perhaps a little seedy, but always seems to be packed.
If you plan to be in town for the day or for the weekend, there are plenty of attractions to be seen in the local area, such as the Cowpens Civil War battlefield site or Shunkawauken Falls. But no visit to Gaffney could be called complete without a visit to The Peachoid, the 135-foot tall water tower painted to resemble a giant peach. This famous landmark can be seen from the freeway, but you can also get closer if you would like a selfie. And like any town this size, Gaffney has plenty of hotel choices depending on how close you want to be to the college and depending on how much you want to spend.
For its biggest games, Limestone can draw as many as five thousand fans to The Reservation, which is about half full, but even when there is a much smaller crowd in the stands, the Saints faithful get pretty loud and rowdy. You will see plenty of Limestone gear in the stands, including lots of blue slickers during foul weather, and if you need Limestone gear you can even purchase your own from a mobile cart on the concourse. A lot of fun music is also played during breaks in the action, which really gets the crowd moving, so that adds to the enjoyment as well.
Faithful Limestone Saints Fans, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Getting to The Reservation is as simple as can be – the stadium is only about 2 miles off the freeway using either Exit 90 or 92 from I-85, and the lights on the field can easily be seen as you approach Gaffney High School along Twin Lake Road. Remember though that the facility is not actually on the college’s campus, so make sure you head toward Gaffney High School instead of Limestone College as you get close.
Once you get to The Reservation, there is a plenty of parking in a huge lot right next to the north end zone, so you won’t have much of a walk to get inside (the Gold lot offers even closer parking if you happen to be a donor or other VIP). As you enter the stadium, be sure to pay attention to whether you are sitting on the main or visitor side, however, as the two grandstands don’t connect, so you can’t move between them during the game – The Reservation has a no re-entry policy, so if you leave your side during the game you will have to pay to get back in. However, since the stadium likely won’t be quite full you may be able to sit on whichever side you want; note that this is not the case during high school football games here, which have a much larger attendance than do Limestone games.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets to Limestone Saints games are only $15 each (cash only), which is a great deal for college football, and concessions prices are reasonable.
Limestone College has many great traditions, many of which relate to the game of football we all know and love. For example, every Friday students and staff members are encouraged to wear blue, as part of Limestone College’s “Be Bold. Be Blue.” initiative to show school pride and support for the school’s athletic teams. The team’s costumed mascot, a Saint Bernard named Bernie, shows up at most athletic events, and the Victory Bell on campus is rung after every Limestone athletic victory.
The alma mater and fight song are sung during every football game, and if you take a visit to Limestone’s campus, you can find the fountain topped with a seven-branched candelabrum, representing the seven branches of learning offered at the college; the candelabrum is part of Limestone’s official seal. And if you happen to be in the area around Christmas, the campus is alight with over 10,000 luminaries, most of which are prepared and lit by student athletes.
One final note regarding the team’s logo – known as the “Fast Fleur”, the symbol is reminiscent of the traditional fleur sports fan are probably familiar with from teams like the New Orleans Saints. However, at Limestone the fleur is angled slightly forward with racing lines coming off the back, evocative of the fleur being in motion, hence the moniker “Fast Fleur”.
Many sports fans may not consider attending college football games in the D2 set, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the football stadium at Limestone. The Reservation is definitely worth making a visit to you if you are in the Gaffney or wider Charlotte area.