Connect with us

Its Called Football

Its Called Football

California high school competes for title after deadly fire


Uncategorized

California high school competes for title after deadly fire

A Northern California high school football team has lost its bid for a championship one year after a deadly fire destroyed most of their town and most of the players and coaches lost their homesBy ADAM BEAM Associated PressDecember 1, 2019, 6:45 AM3 min read A Northern California high school football team has lost in…

California high school competes for title after deadly fire

A Northern California high school football team has lost its bid for a championship one year after a deadly fire destroyed most of their town and most of the players and coaches lost their homes

By

ADAM BEAM Associated Press

December 1, 2019, 6:45 AM

3 min read

A Northern California high school football team has lost in a championship game one year after a deadly fire destroyed most of their town, including the homes of most players and coaches.

Paradise High School lost to Sutter Union High School 20-7 on Saturday night in the Northern Section Division III championship game. The game comes just over one year the fire in Paradise burned roughly 19,000 buildings and killed 85 people.

In the endzone after the game, senior running back Lukas Hartley cried with his teammates, telling reporters “I didn’t cry this bad when my house burned down.” He said he plans to be a firefighter after he finishes high school.

“I’m just proud of all my brothers and thankful to God for putting me on this path,” he said.

Paradise coach Rick Prinz told the team after the game he was proud of his players.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

“No one really knows how much they truly battled just to be at practice and to do what they did,” Prinz said. “They lost everything they owned a year ago. They are all living in different places. And to pull it together like this and help our community come together is truly amazing.”

Most of the people who lived in Paradise have moved away. But many have returned on Friday nights to watch the football team’s remarkable season.

The high school has a football tradition, consistently fielding competitive teams. The school produced Jeff Maehl, a wide receiver who played for the University of Oregon in the 2011 BCS national championship game and later played for two NFL teams.

Last year, the school was 8-2 and preparing to host a home playoff game when the wildfire swept through the town. The school survived, but nearly every player and coach on the team lost their homes. The team forfeited the playoff game, ending their season.

The team almost didn’t have a 2019 season. In January, Prinz had just 22 players left from what had been a 56-man roster. The school had relocated to an office building by an airport, and without a field to practice on the team ran plays on a gravel lot.

But the players were determined to play.

Erica Browe, 38, lost her home in the fire. She now lives in Redding. At first, her two teenage sons went to a new school. But she said they were miserable and their grades suffered. They now live in Paradise with some friends so they can attend their old high school and play football.

Returning to Paradise made a big difference in her sons’ lives, she said, and the team’s success encouraged the community nestled along a ridge in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

“It gives hope back to the ridge that we can still be strong and stick together,” she said.

Paradise High School finished the regular season undefeated, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 469-73. But their magical season ended Saturday on a rainy, cold night.

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular Posts

To Top