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Buhach breaks in new Sprinturf

ATWATER -- The Falcon Field facelift is complete.

The newly installed Sprinturf will be on display as the 2008 prep football season kicks off tonight.

The only thing missing will be the Atwater football team.

Instead, it's cross-town rival Buhach Colony hosting Madera South in the first game on the fancy new synthetic grass that was part of a $1.3 million project -- an overhaul that included a new all-weather track.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

"We play the first game?" joked Buhach Colony coach Kevin Swartwood. "I'm sure there might be quite a few people in the community upset by that.

"It's basically a fluke. We didn't want to have a week nine bye, so we had to find a zero-week game. Madera South wanted to travel. It just worked out that way. We weren't trying to sabotage the date or anything."

BC is one of three area teams in action tonight.

Golden Valley travels to North Monterey County High School on Saturday. The other 10 local high schools start their seasons next week.

Other action tonight includes Los Banos hosting Fresno and Dos Palos opening at home against Mendota.

The new turf has added some extra excitement to BC's season opener.

"I think so," Swartwood said. "I think they're excited about playing football. Playing on the new turf is an added bonus."

Swartwood's boys thumped Madera South 43-14 last year as Madera South finished 0-11.

Former Chowchilla coach Scott Donegan led a team without any seniors in its first varsity football season.

"I expect them to be a thousand times improved," Swartwood said. "They have everybody back, they have senior leadership and they had a pretty good JV team."

Los Banos also will open up against a Central Section opponent as Fresno rolls into town.

Dennis Stubbs hopes his team's solid play at last week's scrimmage carries over to tonight's season opener.

"We did well," said Stubbs, who led LB to a 5-5 record in his first season. "Defensively, we've gotten better and offensively we looked good. We were able to throw the ball."

Senior receiver Rubal Sangha looks healthy.

He touched the ball four times at last week's scrimmage and scored four times.

"Our guys are ready," Stubbs said. "We spent a lot of time in the off-season, they're ready to get after somebody else besides ourselves."


Madera South at Buhach Colony, 7:15 p.m.

Fresno at Los Banos, 7:15 p.m.

Mendota at Dos Palos, 7:15 p.m.


Golden Valley at North Monterey County High, 2 p.m.