When JD Burnett took over the Yosemite High School football program in April, he said one of his goals was to build community support for the Badgers, and he is optimistic his “Paint the Town Blue” campaign will help do that.
Burnett wants employees of every business in town to wear Yosemite “This Is Badger Country” T-shirts on the Fridays that the team has a home game. The first three Badger games of the season are home on Sept. 4 (Selma), 11 (Corcoran), and 18 (Roosevelt).
Four businesses - Pizza Factory, Raley’s, South Gate Brewing Co., and Round Table Pizza - have purchased the T-shirts for their staff to wear on game days.
The decision to participate in the program was easy for Jeff and Pam Latham (managers of Pizza Factory since 1989, and owners since 2008), a business that has been supporting Yosemite High for many years. The couple have four children that graduated from Yosemite High, with sons Steven (class of 1998), and Robert (2000) playing football, and daughters Jennifer (1994 ASB president), and Mellissa (1996 - cheerleader).
“We are happy to do whatever we can do to help re-instill the enthusiasm for Badger football,” Pam said. “I would encourage all the businesses in town to participate in “Paint the Town Blue.”
The Latham’s also plan on sponsoring at least one team Thursday night dinner for the Yosemite Teams. The dinners will be held every Thursday at the Landing Church, 50089 High School Road. Other businesses or individuals interested in sponsoring a Thursday night dinner for the team, should contact Coach Burnett.
“We feel building some excitement during football season is important for the school, our football program, and the community” Burnett said “We are trying to make it easy for the businesses is town to be involved by having the T-shirts available for just $10. We are not making any money on these shirts - we are keeping the cost down in the hope that businesses will buy them for their employees to wear on Friday’s when the team is playing at home. Of course we hope the community comes out to the games also.”
Burnett said the “Paint the Town Blue” idea came from the team while attending the spring Hume Lake football camp.
“At night, the team sat around the campfire and discussed things that could be achieved which would make for a better football experience,” Burnett said. “Once the players started opening up, it became obvious that they feel unsupported in their efforts the last couple years.”
Burnett, a Yosemite High graduate and former standout player, said 10 years ago a person could not go anywhere in the community without seeing a Yosemite football sticker in a car window or a person wearing a Badger T-shirt or sweatshirt.
“The youth and Yosemite High football teams used to pack the stadium, and many community members even traveled to out of town games,” Burnett said. “Recently, not a lot of people have gone to out of town games, but more disappointing is the fact that Badger Stadium has way to many empty seats when the team plays at home.”
Burnett said the team decided that the best way to get spirit back into the community is by working their absolute hardest in everything that they do.
“I told my players that if they do everything they can in order to achieve their highest level, the community will recognize that, and accept your invitation to get behind you.” Burnett said.
Burnett said the “Paint the Town Blue” program is opening the door to the community by asking for support of the teams by wearing the blue Badger shirts on Friday night high school and Saturday youth home football games.
Businesses interested in purchasing T-shirts, should call Burnett, (559) 760-3487. For individuals, the T-shirts will be sold by the Yosemite Football Boosters Club at all home games.
“We want every business in town to wear Badger shirts on the days of our home games,” junior lineman Steven Schoemaker said. “It will be cool when the visitors stop in a store or go to get something to eat and see a swarm of blue shirts. That’s community spirit.”
Coach Burnett will be bringing around shirt pre-order forms to local businesses this week.
“This is not a fundraiser,” Burnett said. “The shirts are $10 thanks to great pricing by Idea Print Works. Let’s come together as a community and support the efforts of these hard working, dedicated student-athletes.”
Practices continue in preparation for Sept. 4 home opener
The Yosemite High football varsity and JV teams continue to prepare for the season, with the home opener on Friday, Sept. 4, against the Selma Bears.
Coach JD Burnett said players have been working hard through the summer, and have been preparing themselves both physically and mentally for the season.
“We will be young with eight sophomores playing varsity,” Burnette said. “The program has taken huge strides forward this off-season and is moving in the right direction.”
Assistant coaches are Erik Peterson, Brian Johnson, Pat Lynch, Jonas Garner, Ed Wean, Bret Cunnings, and Matt Pressley. The coaching staff will coach both the varsity and JV squads this season.
Junior 5-foot-11, 170 pound quarterback Tristin Eames feels the team will be more competitive this year.
“I feel everyone on the team this year has a high level of commitment, we are more organized, and the team is progressing faster at this point compared to last year,” Eames said.
After playing youth football for two years, freshman Christopher Fuller, 4-foot-9, 82 pounds, is a member of the JV team, and expects to see his share of playing time as a wide receiver and defensive back.
“A lot of people don’t think I’ll do very well because I’m small, but I like playing football, and I’ll do just fine,” Fullmer said. “Practices have been fun ... I’m not scared a bit ... I like contact.”
After the Sept. 4 opener, the Badgers stay home with games against Corcoran (Sept. 11), and Roosevelt (Sept. 19), before traveling to Mendota on Sept. 25.
Water: From left, junior receiver Cass Moreno, sophomore receive/corner back Austen Burgeno, and senior wide receiver Dylan Rounsville take a water break during practice.