Friday, September 26, 2008

Lights, football, action


Forty-two years have passed since Dos Pueblos High School rose on the outskirts of Goleta.
Forty-two graduating classes consisting of thousands of students have come and gone.
Ask any principal, teacher or coach about those 42 years and they’d probably tell you each student, each team, each band, each cheerleading squad was unique from any other.

While measuring difference is difficult to calculate, especially when the unit of measurement is youth, it’s safe to say each class and each team, especially the football team, has one absolute thing in common: In all of those years, not one Friday night football game has been played at Dos Pueblos.
Not one tackle, not one reception, not one cross-town victory, not one crowd roaring, heart thumping, last-minute touchdown to clinch the championship.
Not one.
Until tonight, when, after four decades, or what would have been roughly 210 home games (assuming half of the games during a 10-game season were played at home), the Chargers will dash into O’Leary Stadium and play their first home football game ever.
It’s a night some say is long overdue and may very well be one of the most significant games in the school’s history.
“It’s something that’s very special for me,” said Tim McGaughey, who played varsity football at Dos Pueblos during the 1982-1983 seasons and is now the running backs coach. “There will be the first kick-off, first reception; it’s going to be very special.”


When Dos Pueblos was built in 1966, the funding stream ran dry. As a result, no football stadium or auditorium was built.
According to former Dos Pueblos Principal Mike Couch, who was at the helm of the school from 1992 to 1999, the football stadium and auditorium were at the heart of many a promise. However, none ever became reality.
“The promises were always great and there were plenty of promises,” he said.
But that’s not to say progress, as slow as it was, didn’t occur over time.
During Couch’s tenure, the home grandstand was constructed and the track was refinished. The biggest hitch, however, was lighting, along with other amenities like a visiting locker room.
Just as Couch was preparing to leave the school, he said district officials asked school administrators to put in writing a “dream list.”
Couch said a lighted football stadium with visiting bleachers and an auditorium were at the top of Dos Pueblos’ list.
Not long after the dream lists were submitted, the Board of Education adopted a resolution putting Measure V, a $67 million bond measure, on the ballot.
It was approved and Dos Pueblos got a chunk big enough to complete both projects.
The football field itself has had lights for just more than five years. But other construction projects such as the auditorium and performing arts center, which was completed last November, and a new pool, needed the finishing touches before thousands of fans streamed into the football stadium.


In the four decades between Dos Pueblos’ inaugural season and tonight, the Chargers have been vagabonds.
They’ve primarily played their home games at San Marcos High School’s Valley Stadium. But during the early 1980’s, when McGaughey played, the Chargers played at UC Santa Barbara’s Harder Stadium.
McGaughey said Harder Stadium was nice while it lasted, but the university raised its prices. Dos Pueblos returned to Valley Stadium in 1984, where they’ve remained since.
According to McGaughey, whose son Tyler is a senior wide receiver for the Chargers, playing at Valley Stadium, the home of their bitter cross-town rivals, took away the home field advantage.
“It’s just not your home,” he said. “We drive over there and you feel like a visitor.”
Chargers’ Head Coach Jeff Uyesaka, who played football at Dos Pueblos in 1989, said he won’t miss the headache of having to pack extra helmets, jerseys, medical equipment, and haul it across town for every single game of the season.
“Packing for every game was an equipment nightmare,” he said.
In order to ease into hosting home football games, school officials are calling tonight’s game a soft opening.
Tonight’s game and one other, the Chargers’ Oct. 3 match up against Righetti, will be held at O’Leary Stadium.
Barbara Keyani, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara School Districts, said the school plans to have an official grand opening next season, when the Chargers will stay home for good.
Grand opening or not, tonight’s match up against Lompoc is a homecoming that will be laced with history from the first kick-off until the final second ticks off the clock.
McGaughey said many of his teammates are coming back to town for the occasion.
“It’s defiantly long overdue for these kids to enjoy the atmosphere we’re going to have here tonight,” he said.
Uyesaka said being able to play at home for the first time is especially meaningful given the current state of financial chaos and uncertainty, which he believes is putting stress on everyone, including children.
“Friday nights are kind of like a sanctuary,” he said. “Nobody can take that away. There’s nothing out there like it. So to have it at home is pretty cool.”
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The Chargers, 1-1, are coming off a narrow 19-17 victory last week over Cabrillo. Lompoc remains undefeated at 3-0.


Anonymous said...

Uyesaka said
“Friday nights are kind of like a sanctuary,” he said. “Nobody can take that away. There’s nothing out there like it. So to have it at home is pretty cool.”

Sad to say, they are being taken away. Just ask San Marcos and Santa Barbara with their games being moved up to 5pm. DP is next sad to say.

Anonymous said...

Why, why, why ? Gang jerks ?

Big network money?