In two days, local football players will get the chance to do what they’ve been hoping for since late last year.
All of the waiting, frustration and training will turn into the first game of the football season for the Galt Warriors and Liberty Ranch Hawks, who will play the first of a four-game season Friday night.
The Warriors will play a road game against El Dorado (JV starts at 5 p.m. and varsity will follow at 7:45 p.m.), and the Hawks will host Argonaut Monday at 6:30 p.m. with a varsity-only night.
Fans at games for both schools will be limited to immediate households, however, as Galt and Liberty Ranch are following Sacramento County’s COVID-19 health guidelines for outdoor youth sports.
With conditioning and training having taken place off and on over the past year, having a set start date to the season was a huge step forward for both schools.
“I know how important it is for the kids and their mental health. I have a football player, he’s a junior,” Galt Principal Kellie Beck said. “I think this is very exciting for our kids and our community. Everybody’s super pumped up.”
“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to go out and compete. Especially the seniors. We’re just happy to give them the opportunity,” Liberty Ranch Principal Joe Saramago said.
Both teams’ last game was Nov. 1, 2019, when they played each other in the Dairy Bowl.
Immediate household members of players will be given a Sierra Valley Conference pass to be admitted into games.
Saramago noted that every team in the SVC is enforcing the rules, so passes will be required on the road as well as at home games.
In addition to having the required pass, spectators must wear a mask at all times.
“This is not our rule. We’re enforcing the rules. We just appreciate everyone cooperating with us. We don’t want to waste people’s time. We don’t want to lose that opportunity (to play),” Saramago said.
The rest of the Hawks’ schedule includes a home game against Union Mine March 19, with JV to play at 5:15 p.m. and varsity at 7:30 p.m.; week three will feature the Hawks playing at El Dorado High School (JV 5:15 p.m., varsity 7:30 p.m.) and both schools’ season will culminate in the Dairy Bowl April 1 with Liberty Ranch hosting Galt (JV 5:15 p.m., varsity 7:30 p.m.).
In week two, the Warriors’ varsity team will play on the road at Bradshaw Christian at 6 p.m. (with no JV game). Week three for Galt will again feature a varsity-only night with the Warriors hosting Rosemont at 6 p.m.
The plan is for games to be livestreamed this season.
“This is the only way we can play,” Liberty Ranch principal Joe Saramago said of the county guidelines. “We appreciate everyone understanding.”
As for that first feeling of seeing athletes get back on the field, Beck said that seeing athletes back on campus has been a welcome sight.
“I saw our cheerleaders practice for the first time and I almost had tears. We’re very excited to have them here,” Beck said.