Pequot, PR-B light fields to honor seniors

Each school will light the football field at 8:20 p.m. for 20 minutes in honor of the graduating class of 2020.

The lights on the Pequot Lakes football field shone bright on the first night of the Patriots joining the "Be The Light" movement on Wednesday, April 8. Dan Determan / Echo Journal

Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus have joined more than 200 other schools in the state in taking part in the “Be The Light MN” movement.

Once per week for the rest of the school year, each school will light the football field at 8:20 p.m. (20:20 in military time) for 20 minutes in honor of the graduating class of 2020 who are missing the final months of their high school career, as well as their spring sports seasons.

“We turn them on to recognize the 2020 seniors who, most likely, have lost their graduations and lost their spring sports seasons, and to shine a light in this darkness right now,” Pequot Lakes coach Bill Magnuson said. “There are positive things ahead, not only for our seniors that are graduating and going on to the next chapter of life, but also for all the underclassmen. We're going to be back. We're going to be on these fields again. We're going to be cheering you on and celebrating the great things you bring to our community.”

Pine River-Backus is lighting the field every Monday night, while Pequot Lakes will do so on Wednesday nights. Both began lighting the fields last week.

Both schools would like to remind residents and fans to enjoy the lights from afar or from their vehicles to best practice social distancing.


Magnuson, head coach of the Patriot football team, has taken the charge on lighting the field in Pequot Lakes, while Tiger baseball coach Mike Dinnel has been lighting the field in Pine River.

Both said that while this gesture honors the senior class, it is also meant as a show of solidarity for communities that are strong supporters of the schools and their activities, and may be feeling somewhat hopeless in this time of uncertainty.

“There is light at the end of this tunnel,” Magnuson said. “We're going to make it and we’ve got to do it together.”

“There were a lot of people who were very, very positive about it - who thought it was really a good idea,” Dinnel said. “Of course, the snow was gone and it was a beautiful night, so the pictures turned out really well. I think a lot of people really like seeing that image and, maybe, seeing a positive message from anything or anybody.”

Magnuson said he has been in touch with a few of the Patriot athletes since schools have been closed, and the consensus seems to be they would rather be in class right now.

“You never thought you'd hear kids say they miss school, but they do miss school,” Magnuson said. “As much as they may complain about that ritual of going every day and that structure, I think they actually, deep down, like it.”

As the coaches continue to switch on the lights, their hearts continue to go out to the graduating class moving on to new things once the current situation is over.

“Just thank you for the memories, and thank you for your leadership,” Magnuson said. “I know that things didn't end the way we wanted to, without a spring season and some of the great traditions that they would have gotten to experience … Thanks for only stealing your Patriot best and good luck to you in the next year.”


“This is an unprecedented thing,” Dinnel said. “I don’t think there is a coach - or any adult - that can probably give a good perspective on this situation … If I were going to say something to (the athletes) I would just say I’m sorry. I feel bad for them. However, if I was going to turn this, this is something you will always remember.

“We are all thinking about our athletes, and we would like to be with them. One of the big reasons we got into education was to be around students and student-athletes. We just want them to stay positive through this.”

Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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