News

Pleasanton Preps: Foothill field renovations cutting it close for football season

Construction schedule gives Falcons one day of wiggle room before first game

The Foothill High School football program, which has been fighting an uphill battle with participation numbers in recent years, now faces a big battle with dates.

The Falcons' field -- comprised of an artificial/synthetic grass surface -- has been in bad need of replacement the last few years to the point that it was an embarrassment and borderline unsafe the last two seasons.

The replacement is finally coming, but the project is set to start this week with a proposed competition date of Aug. 22. To old school people in town, that might seem like plenty of time before the season starts (formerly after Labor Day), but these are not the old days.

The Falcons' first game is set for Aug. 23, which means even a one-day delay (and you know how construction projects are about running on time) and the home game will be lost.

Foothill head coach Greg Haubner has already been in talks with opening week opponent San Leandro about possibly moving the game. It doesn't get better from there as the next two games against Heritage and Petaluma are also scheduled for Foothill.

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A decent delay and three home games are gone, which totally stinks for any seniors on the squad. In this day, the chance of getting student fans to road games, except for Amador Valley, are slim. Part of the passion of high school sports is playing in front of your classmates, and three games may be in jeopardy.

In addition, the gate and snack bar revenue from home games helps fund athletics and that will be lost as well.

Foothill Booster Club president Derek Perez -- who is working overtime trying to get the project done and had tons of praise heaped upon him by Haubner -- is confident the project will be finished in time for opening night, but you have a feeling that Perez, as well as anyone associated with the Foothill program, are keeping their fingers crossed.

I don't think it needed to come to this as construction should have started back in early June, but every time that there was a change in the plans, Perez and his group had to wait to get the approval of the Pleasanton Unified School District before proceeding.

For the PUSD, prompt response is not a strong point.

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But the possible loss of home games is just part of the problem. How about practice space?

Amador faced the same dilemma a couple of years back when the Dons had their field being replaced and they needed to scramble for somewhere to practice. After being booted off the beautiful Patelco Fields off Bernal, the Dons finally ended up at the Ken Mercer Sports Park.

The Falcons and coach Haubner asked the city permission to use Patelco, even early in the morning before soccer teams were out there, and were denied as well.

Foothill was willing to run practices at 6 a.m. but were shot down. That makes no sense to me as how is helping our local high school teams on city fields not something that should be accommodated?

It's one thing if the local high school athletic programs want to use the facility because they think it would be cool, but another thing when it's because there is a lack of practice fields at their respective schools.

Having grown up in Pleasanton, it used to be a city where everyone worked together to give the kids in the town the best opportunities. I realize that ship has sailed in some respects, but I have a hard time believing there isn't something that could be done to help the Falcons team.

Here's hoping things work out with the field, as well as finding adequate practice space.

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Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact Miller or submit local high school sports scores, game highlights and photographs for his weekly Pleasanton Preps column, email him at acesmag@aol.com.

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Pleasanton Preps: Foothill field renovations cutting it close for football season

Construction schedule gives Falcons one day of wiggle room before first game

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jul 16, 2019, 11:59 am

The Foothill High School football program, which has been fighting an uphill battle with participation numbers in recent years, now faces a big battle with dates.

The Falcons' field -- comprised of an artificial/synthetic grass surface -- has been in bad need of replacement the last few years to the point that it was an embarrassment and borderline unsafe the last two seasons.

The replacement is finally coming, but the project is set to start this week with a proposed competition date of Aug. 22. To old school people in town, that might seem like plenty of time before the season starts (formerly after Labor Day), but these are not the old days.

The Falcons' first game is set for Aug. 23, which means even a one-day delay (and you know how construction projects are about running on time) and the home game will be lost.

Foothill head coach Greg Haubner has already been in talks with opening week opponent San Leandro about possibly moving the game. It doesn't get better from there as the next two games against Heritage and Petaluma are also scheduled for Foothill.

A decent delay and three home games are gone, which totally stinks for any seniors on the squad. In this day, the chance of getting student fans to road games, except for Amador Valley, are slim. Part of the passion of high school sports is playing in front of your classmates, and three games may be in jeopardy.

In addition, the gate and snack bar revenue from home games helps fund athletics and that will be lost as well.

Foothill Booster Club president Derek Perez -- who is working overtime trying to get the project done and had tons of praise heaped upon him by Haubner -- is confident the project will be finished in time for opening night, but you have a feeling that Perez, as well as anyone associated with the Foothill program, are keeping their fingers crossed.

I don't think it needed to come to this as construction should have started back in early June, but every time that there was a change in the plans, Perez and his group had to wait to get the approval of the Pleasanton Unified School District before proceeding.

For the PUSD, prompt response is not a strong point.

But the possible loss of home games is just part of the problem. How about practice space?

Amador faced the same dilemma a couple of years back when the Dons had their field being replaced and they needed to scramble for somewhere to practice. After being booted off the beautiful Patelco Fields off Bernal, the Dons finally ended up at the Ken Mercer Sports Park.

The Falcons and coach Haubner asked the city permission to use Patelco, even early in the morning before soccer teams were out there, and were denied as well.

Foothill was willing to run practices at 6 a.m. but were shot down. That makes no sense to me as how is helping our local high school teams on city fields not something that should be accommodated?

It's one thing if the local high school athletic programs want to use the facility because they think it would be cool, but another thing when it's because there is a lack of practice fields at their respective schools.

Having grown up in Pleasanton, it used to be a city where everyone worked together to give the kids in the town the best opportunities. I realize that ship has sailed in some respects, but I have a hard time believing there isn't something that could be done to help the Falcons team.

Here's hoping things work out with the field, as well as finding adequate practice space.

Comments

James
Jensen Tract
on Jul 16, 2019 at 1:36 pm
James, Jensen Tract
on Jul 16, 2019 at 1:36 pm
8 people like this

Here we go again. First the AVHS solar project now FHS football field. This project was to start June 3rd. Now it might not be ready for football season. Who ever is in charge of scheduling at the D.O. needs to go.


Sad resident
Country Fair
on Jul 17, 2019 at 10:12 am
Sad resident, Country Fair
on Jul 17, 2019 at 10:12 am
13 people like this

It’s very disheartening to hear that the city, for which we all pay taxes to use facilities like parks, are unwilling to allow a city high school to use a sports field. There are so many fields available, but again - soccer rules. I’ve never seen those shiny, new Patelco fields all being used - especially during the week. Get it together, city of Pleasanton - these kids repertoire city and what it stands for. As for PUSD, they obviously don’t have the kids and their needs as a high priority - especially when it comes to sports. This town is crazy. Sad.


Michelle
Parkside
on Jul 17, 2019 at 10:35 am
Michelle , Parkside
on Jul 17, 2019 at 10:35 am
1 person likes this

Curious of what happened to all the money that we raised during the car raffle that is supposed to help with the field renovation.

Also – if anyone gets hurt on this field I feel a suing of the school district will be coming. Not only that but many different groups use these fields. They pay for these fields. Where is that money going?


Esteban
Foothill Knolls
on Jul 17, 2019 at 11:12 am
Esteban, Foothill Knolls
on Jul 17, 2019 at 11:12 am
8 people like this

“For the PUSD, prompt response is not a strong point.”

Ya think?


Pete
Downtown
on Jul 17, 2019 at 11:13 am
Pete, Downtown
on Jul 17, 2019 at 11:13 am
3 people like this

Why are we having difficulty getting kids to play football? We used to be known for our football.


Ben J.
Registered user
Birdland
on Jul 17, 2019 at 6:44 pm
Ben J., Birdland
Registered user
on Jul 17, 2019 at 6:44 pm
Like this comment

Pete, my guess would be it's due to demographics at the school and cost to play that the students families have to pay.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2019 at 7:16 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 17, 2019 at 7:16 pm
11 people like this

Nope, it's CTE (head trauma). If my kids were still young, there is NO WAY I would let them play tackle football, it's Russian Roulette. Web Link


FHS Football Supporter
Happy Valley
on Jul 18, 2019 at 8:46 am
FHS Football Supporter, Happy Valley
on Jul 18, 2019 at 8:46 am
18 people like this

The city of Pleasanton AND the school district should be ashamed of themselves. Our FHS football players need a TEMPORARY local place to practice until the stadium field is complete. Qe aren't asking to kick anyone else off the fields. Quite the opposite. Qe are willing to get our boys up at the crack of dawn to practice early. Didn't most of us here in Pleasanton help pay for and support the building of Patelco? Shouldn't our city and school leaders be supporting our kids and community? Instead, their reason for declining Patelco field use is because they are "working on a joint agreement between each other." Well, for a fact, they have been stating this since February 2019. It takes 5 months to draw up an agreement!? This is an unforeseen circumstance that should be allowed a temporary solution that benefits our players and coaches that work so hard!


Another FHS Football Supporter
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2019 at 12:54 pm
Another FHS Football Supporter, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2019 at 12:54 pm
7 people like this

Hey Get the Facts,

Got news for ya: There's an element of risk in EVERYTHING one does in this world.

That's a fact.

Sorry, but suggesting that football is the only sport that risks head trauma is ignorant.

As one who has personally witnessed youth sports injuries in ALL sports (including baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, rugby, hockey, cycling, etc.), there's a risk of head trauma in ANY sport, PERIOD.

Sick and tired of folks trying to single out football as the one and only source of head trauma injuries. It's just not so. And football is one of the only sports where participants wear head protection 100% of the time (lacrosse and hockey are the only other ones that I can think of).

Modern coaching at EVERY level teaches and strongly emphasizes NEVER to use your head as part of the tackling and blocking process.

NCAA football severely penalizes players for targeting receivers with their helmets, in part to protect the ones doing it.

The game has changed, and is safer and more protective of players than it's ever been.

Suggest you get the facts.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2019 at 1:08 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2019 at 1:08 pm
12 people like this

To A FHS F S:

"Sorry, but suggesting that football is the only sport that risks head trauma is ignorant."

Read what I wrote. I did NOT say that "football is the ONLY sport...", I merely was responding to Pete's comments, with the reason that I believe is the main cause of the drop in football participation. I actually agree with most of what you wrote (though I disagree that cycling causes head trauma, most cyclists, though they wear helmets, have never had a head injury).

Football, however, is about the only sport where collisions are a designed part of the game, along with rugby and boxing/MMA. Parents are realizing this is not good, and that football, inherently, is a dangerous sport, and inherently, is not safe for the head. Yes, "There's an element of risk in EVERYTHING one does in this world", but playing football is like playing tag on the freeway, instead of playing tag in the park. It's more dangerous, it's more risky. That is why, I believe, tackle football participation numbers are dropping.


Stan
Canyon Oaks
on Jul 18, 2019 at 2:31 pm
Stan, Canyon Oaks
on Jul 18, 2019 at 2:31 pm
2 people like this

Mmmm, wonder if they have parking problems!!


Sad Resident
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2019 at 7:54 pm
Sad Resident, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2019 at 7:54 pm
10 people like this

Yes, CTE can be a part of football, but the equipment and teaching skills have improved. One of the big reasons are the changing demographics in the tri-valley. This is glaringly obvious with the growing numbers in the band programs. Nothing wrong - just is what it is. Doesn’t excuse why the city won’t let Foothill practice on Patelco fields.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2019 at 9:21 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2019 at 9:21 pm
3 people like this

It has very little to do with the changing local demographics, the decrease in youth football participation is nationwide. And safer equipment and better coaching does not change the fact it is a dangerous sport. Parents know better the risk of head trauma, and are keeping their kids out. I would do the same.


Pete
Downtown
on Jul 19, 2019 at 9:48 am
Pete, Downtown
on Jul 19, 2019 at 9:48 am
4 people like this

I think after reading this it kind of “all the above”. Expensive, dangerous, time consuming, and also demographics. Really kind of sad but times are a changing in our town. Mission San Jose was like DLS in the 70’s and early 80’s. I’m not even sure they consistently have a team now because of lack of participation.


Hahaha
Birdland
on Jul 19, 2019 at 10:08 am
Hahaha, Birdland
on Jul 19, 2019 at 10:08 am
1 person likes this

“Get the facts”..... you really think CTE brought Cricket to this area??? It’s a combination of things. I hope it all works out for Foothill. Football games are a fun part of high school.


Another FHS football supporter
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2019 at 12:20 pm
Another FHS football supporter, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2019 at 12:20 pm
2 people like this

Get the Facts,

I did read what you wrote. That's right--you didn't say football is the ONLY sport....", you suggested (i.e., insinuated) it, and your response just reinforces that.

You're also wrong about claiming the decrease in football participation has "very little to do with the changing local demographics."

It has VERY much to do with it around here (Tri-Valley). I suggest you go to San Ramon Valley, Monte Vista, California, De La Salle, Liberty, and/or Clayton Valley Charter high schools (just to name a few) and watch a football game at ANY level (Freshman, JV, or Varsity), and, specifically, take a peek at how many players for those schools' teams are on the sidelines. Those schools have anywhere from 35 to 50+ players at each level.

How do I know? Because I've gone to and watched games at all of those schools and counted how many players they have--and that's a fact.

Sad Resident's comments are spot on--on all counts.

Stop singling out and bad-mouthing football already.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2019 at 12:23 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2019 at 12:23 pm
Like this comment

To Hahaha,

The jump you think I am making is that former football players are now playing cricket? That cricket participation has cut into football participation? I'm confused as to what the connection is. But though I see some cricket games going on, I hardly think it's exploding here in Pleasanton, and I'm guessing it's nowhere close to become a high school sport.

To go back to my original point, it seems clear to me that participation in youth football has decreased because of safety concerns by parents. I love watching high school football too, but it doesn't change the fact that it's the riskiest high school sport to play (though the article I have linked would disagree, saying basketball has more injuries - but can we agree more head injuries happen in football?). Web Link


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm
1 person likes this

To A FHS f s,

Your latest comment came while I was typing mine, I didn't see it until I had posted it.

So, you are saying the demographics are changing Pleasanton football participation but not San Ramon, Danville, Walnut Creek and Concord participation? Lots of changing demographics there too. And De La should be put in a different category, since they can recruit from anywhere (even though they claim they don't recruit), so they will always have strong numbers.

Simply put, parents are taking boys out of football more and more, and according to what I have read, it's mainly because of injuries, head injuries mostly. And participation is dropping nationwide, so this isn't just a Pleasanton or demographics problem.

"Stop singling out and bad-mouthing football already."
Not doing that, I'm actually a big football fan. Read for yourself. I'm simply, again, commenting on what Pete said above, the drop is mainly for safety reasons. Here's another link (read the 6th paragraph): Web Link


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2019 at 1:42 pm
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2019 at 1:42 pm
5 people like this

I personally don't have any problem with football receiving less emphasis these days. This is a welcome change given all the injuries that we're learning about that are associated with football.


Bill
Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 23, 2019 at 4:43 pm
Bill, Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 23, 2019 at 4:43 pm
5 people like this

I gather from this website and comments that there are a lot of miserable people at home with nobody to talk to.


SMH
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2019 at 10:18 am
SMH, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2019 at 10:18 am
1 person likes this

Foothill football, no reason to park
Amador football, nowhere to park

You just can’t make this stuff up.


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