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Various sports drinks are lined up off the field during a freshman football game at Lovely Field in Andover on Friday afternoon. No drinks containing sugar are allowed on the new artificial turf because they can break down the rubber and stain it, too.

ANDOVER — The high school football team will have to wait for an away-game victory to douse the coach with a jug of Gatorade.

Sweetened sports drinks have been forced to the sidelines at the high school’s Lovely Field football stadium. According to new rules, athletes who want a swig of the beverage have to bring it by a fence, several feet away from the field.

This went into effect in late August — the start of the fall sports season — after Lovely Field transitioned from natural grass to artificial turf. Constant exposure to sweetened drinks can actually hurt the synthetic turf surface.

“Kids are having a hard time with the Gatorade,” said girls soccer Coach Meghan Matson. “They all drink it. But they’ve been very good. They drink it outside the fence.”

Athletic Director David Nichols explained that the electrolytes and sugar in drinks like Gatorade, Powerade and soft drinks can hurt the field’s rubber fiberfill.

A 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade contains 35 grams of sugar — almost as much as you’ll find in a can of Pepsi cola.

“Everyone thinks it stains, that’s why we won’t allow it. But it actually breaks down the rubber,” Nichols said of the drinks.

The school has also banned chewing gum, candy and food, sunflower seeds, and pets from the fake grass area. Only a pricey chemical concoction made by a turf company will remove gum from the field.

Adam Hendy, of turf-installer Sports Turf International, said these rules are not unique to Andover.

Many cities and towns across the country use these same rules, with Lawrence’s Veterans Stadium being one of them.

Sports Turf International installed the turf on Lovely Field over the summer, a project that cost $675,000 — paid completely with private fundraising money.

“It’s about good housekeeping,” Hendy said. “Andover invested a heavy sum into this field. You want the field to last as long as possible.”

North Andover High School, one of the first schools to install the fake grass in the area, does not ban Gatorade, however.

Jon Longley, the new athletic director for North Andover, said he would talk to Andover’s athletic office about the restriction, curious about whether his town should follow suit.

“I think they are just very excited to have this new turf field,” Longley said. “It’s like a new car. You try your hardest to keep it clean in the beginning.”

At a Friday evening freshman football game at Lovely, bottles of Gatorade and Powerade lined the running track, away from the grass.

Players ran onto the track between plays to take quick gulps. Despite the inconvenience, they seemed unfazed by the change.

“Water is better for you anyway,” Brian Miller said after the game.

Freshman Ben Cook said he was more annoyed by the small pieces of black rubber that stick to his socks from the new turf.

Matson said as much as the teenagers like Gatorade, the benefits of the new field outweigh the small negatives.

The new turf surface will allow teams to use the field during bad weather, all-year round. Before, the field saw only 40 or so uses in a year. That number is expected to multiply five- or six-fold.

“Even with not drinking Gatorade on the field, it’s definitely worth it,” Matson said.

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