AKRON — The Tippecanoe Valley School Trustees took some 15 minutes on Monday to officially name the school’s football field.

Out of 183 names submitted by the public, the board was voting on the final four: Death Valley Memorial Field; Smith-Bibler Memorial Field-Home of Death Valley Football; Smith-Bibler Stadium at Death Valley Field; and Smith-Bibler Field at Death Valley.

All five board members agreed on Smith-Bibler Memorial Field-Home of Death Valley Football.

Board member Adam Heckaman said 65 percent of suggested names included Death Valley and 28 percent  wanted a memorial to former Valley coaches Charlie Smith and Scott Bibler. “With 93 percent of those wanting Death Valley and the memorial to be included, I think we are here to support the majority. There is a deep heritage of Death Valley football,” he said.

Micah Lukens, serving as team historian, explained the meaning behind the Death Valley saying. Lukens said when teams came to play in the final tournaments, Tippecanoe Valley would have a perfect record or maybe one loss. He said they would use “Death Valley” to indicate that other teams would be at the end or “death” of their season.

Board member Stan Miller said, “This is not the name for the whole sports program, only the football program.”

Plans are to hold a dedication ceremony and unveil the new signage that will be attached to the new press box at the football field just prior to Friday’s football game. Heckaman said a 4x8 plywood sign saying “Death Valley” had been on the previous press box until it was blown off in a storm. However, the field had not been formally named.

The school board voted to give the field a name on Dec. 7, 2015. Three public meetings are necessary to finalize a name for a facility.

Head football coach Steve Moriarty said he would like the team to present the unveiling. The board opened the privilege of being on the field to all former players. Those wanting to participate are asked to be at the field at 6:30 p.m.

Smith and Bibler lost their lives in an airplane crash in October 2015.

Four people were killed when the aircraft piloted by Smith crashed in South Carolina. Also lost were Smith’s son, Scott Smith, and Warsaw retired Sprint car driver Tony Elliot. The men were on their way to attend the University of Notre Dame football game at Clemson, S.C.

Smith had been in education at Triton Schools, then went to Tippecanoe Valley in 1975 when  the school corporation was formed. He served as the first football coach, leading the Class A team in 1977 as the state runner-up. In 1979, Smith led the team to a state victory. Bibler was a sophomore on that winning team.

Bibler went on to teach at Valley in 1990. He had served as an assistant athletic coach for several years, coached the football team from 1990-2005 and became a guidance counselor at Valley.

Also on Monday, audience member Joe Secrist asked the board to consider some type of memorial signage for other former team players. Superintendent Brett Boggs indicated that there had been some discussion on the idea and there would be further consideration.

Referring to Smith and Bibler, Secrist said, “They were both about the team. They were respectful of them.”

The game on Friday night marks the beginning of homecoming events.

One event scheduled Friday includes a test drive to help raise up to $6,000 for the high school. The test drive is being presented by Kerlin Motor Co. Every driver who takes a test drive from 5:30 to 9 p.m. will earn $20 for the school. Last year, the Kerlin-sponsored test drive netted $6,000 for the schools.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. is a “Pig Out For Prill.” Pulled pork sandwiches, chips and a drink will be sold for $6 at the entrance gate. Proceeds from the event will be used to help preserve Prill School.