Tonight (Friday) marks the beginning of a full-fledged high school football season in the Mid-Valley region for the first time in two years.
Most administrators in the area have reopened their facilities to full capacity, including two of the bigger schools in the region.
Marysville High School, which opens tonight against Woodland, is returning to normal circumstances for its football season.
“There will not be any specific restrictions in place for Friday night as it is an outdoor event,” Marysville Principal Shevaun Mathews said in a statement. “We would ask that anyone who is not feeling well to stay home.”
COVID-19 remains a concern both locally and nationwide due to rising cases and lagging vaccination rates in certain parts of the country.
Some prep games in California have already been postponed, moved and even canceled.
Yuba City first-year varsity football coach Willie Burns said while he is excited to be on the brink of a full season, he wants everyone to remain vigilant and cautious.
“(There’s) still a lot of uncertainty about the future,” he said in a statement. “We are trying to remain positive, but planning for the unexpected. We are still encouraging masking and social distance indoors as guidance directs.”
Yuba City’s home opener is set for Saturday in a tripleheader that begins with the freshman team at 3 p.m. at Honker Stadium.
Junior varsity follows at about 5 p.m. and varsity will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m.
All three teams host Vanden of Fairfield in a nonleague cross-sectional battle. Vanden is a lower division team out of the Sac-Joaquin Section and Monticello Empire League.
Vanden finished 3-2 overall during the spring COVID-modified season, while Yuba City was 3-1 under recently retired head coach Aaron Gingery.
Burns is expecting a continuation of the Gingery era to kickoff the fall.
“Our expectations do not change,” Burns said. “We are built on overcoming challenges. This will be no different. There are no excuses, just results. We believe that adversity builds character.”
COVID has adversely impacted many families and individuals during the pandemic – which is one reason why Burns is calling for caution for everyone who attends games this fall.
“We encourage all of our coaches to take their health and welfare seriously,” he said. “Several of our coaches and players wear masks. And we are good with that. Each person’s family situation is different. We don’t judge, we support.”
River Valley begins at Sheldon (Sacramento)
The Falcons travel to Sacramento to take on Sheldon tonight, with varsity kickoff set for about 7:15 p.m.
RV was 2-3 this past spring while Sheldon was 2-1 during the modified season.
The Falcons return 16 starters on both sides of the ball, including three-year starting quarterback Collin Totman and 3-year starting running back George Baker.
Up front on the offensive line head coach Brennan McFadden said the team will be led by guards Jacob Arnold and Harman Singh along with offensive tackles Josh Colburn and Bryce Lawton.
McFadden said Jose Arrendondo and Richard Henderson will also be a big part of the offensive line this season. Tight ends Brady Chipchase and Hugo Mendoza are both ready for very successful senior years as well, he said.
On the outside, Pablo Arana is coming back to play wide receiver, McFadden said.