The Yosemite High football team continues preparations for its season home opener against Le Grand on Friday, Aug. 26.
Bowing out of the North Sequoia League this season, Yosemite is playing as an ‘independent,’ against schools with similar enrollments this season. Expectations are running high that with the schedule change, the Badgers will have a much improved season over the past four that left YHS with a 1-38 record.
Coach JD Burnett said the team has a ways to go, but the play on the offensive and defensive side of the ball is on tract with the season opening kick-off just two weeks away.
“These guys worked hard in the off-season to get their bodies ready for football ... now they have to get their minds ready,” Burnett said. “They need to cut out the mental mistakes, focus more, and get a winning attitude. You can’t just come out to practice and go through the motions and think no one will notice. You have to be intense and work you butt off every single play in practice. You practice that way and you’ll play that way in games. Some of these guys get that - some don’t yet.”
Junior 6-foot, 195 pound defensive end and offensive guard Rocky Lapham, seems to be one of the players that get it. He is known for his hard work ethic in both the weight room and on the practice field.
“My mind set when practicing is to give all I’ve got and to sacrifice my body for the sport and for this team, and to dominate the guy in front of me,” Lapham said.
Lapham is playing football at Yosemite High for the first time after transferring from Foothill High School in Henderson, Nevada.
“Thanks to friend Serenity Ison, the transition from Henderson to Oakhurst was made much easier,” Lapham said.
“I’m excited to be here at Yosemite and playing Badger football,” Lapham said. “I had a pretty good year last season as a Falcon, but that team was not nearly as aggressive as this Badger team. During the summer I, like the rest of these players, worked hard to improve my body for football.”
“This year this Badger football program is expected to make a huge turn around and the whole team is excited to dominate our competitors,” Lapham said.
At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, senior tight end / defensive lineman Kevin Bulawsky looks impressive on the practice field, even thought he is playing the game for just the second year.
“My junior year was the first time I played football or any other high school sport for that matter,” Bulawsky said. “I used to live about an hour from Oakhurst which made it difficult to drive there every day. Early last year, my family moved to Oakhurst, and I thought it would be fun to play football my last two years of high school. Even thought it was all so new to me last year, I had a lot of fun playing on this team.”
Bulawsky said he was never really interested in football when he was younger, so he didn’t go to any games or watch them on TV.
“It was all new to me when I started last year,” Bulawsky said. “ I know all the players a lot better this year and also I understand the game more. I know everyone on the team is working harder to become the best so that motivates me to do the same. I think with the skill the team has acquired this year we should have a very good season, and I hope to contribute more to this team to help us be successful.”
The Badgers open the season at home, hosting Le Grand at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26. The JV team plays at 5 p.m..