It was old home week Friday night at Badger Stadium. The coaching staffs of Minarets and McLane were both in attendance. It was a bye week for both programs. Minarets coach Becher Marr (YHS 2003) and McLane and former Badger coach JD Burnett (YHS 1996) returned to their alma maters. For me it was really great. I look at both coaches as Badgers first. It’s where they got their start. I’m sure both will always have a sort of reverence for YHS.
Burnett and Marr wish YHS nothing but success, except when they play each other. Minarets will host YHS next week. The Badgers host McLane on Sept. 14. The McLane game was a fluke on the schedule. Last year as YHS coach, Burnett was putting together the 2018 football schedule and scheduled McLane, not knowing he would end up a Highlander.
Burnett is off to a good start at McLane. With just 23 players, the Highlanders went to Mendota on opening night of 2018 and beat the Aztecs 36-29. That doesn’t happen often to Mendota. McLane will be a big challenge for YHS.
Burnett and Marr played under Aaron Eames. Eames is still a mentor to both. Marr was a huge part of the first Yosemite Central Section Division III title team in 2002. Under Eames the Badgers brought home two section titles, played for two more, and produced numerous playoff wins and league titles in the glory years of the 2000s.
Another legacy is the Eames family. Sons Tristan (2016) and Cannon (2018) are two of the greatest athletes and football players in YHS history. A third is emerging. Athletic sophomore wide receiver/cornerback Holden Eames intercepted three passes, two returned for touchdowns against Parlier.
Eames has also produced a coaching tree of former players that keeps blooming. Besides Burnett and Marr: Cole Popovich (2002), the assistant offensive line coach at New England; Justin Berna (2002), coach at West Hills College in Coalinga; Aaron Wilkins (2005), a defensive assistant at Liberty University; and Jake Dodderidge (2004), offensive assistant at Palomar College in the San Diego area.
Ty Peterson now a Lumberjack
Ty Peterson is now the long snapper at Division II Humboldt State. Peterson, son of YHS defensive coordinator Erik Peterson, has been practicing long snapping since he was a kid. Under his dad’s tutelage Ty participated in camps to hone his skills.
So after a visit from Ty’s parents Erik and Leslie, Ty went to Humboldt’s football practice. Observing specials team play Ty went to the coaches and asked for a tryout. After changing clothes and hustling back to the stadium Ty proceeded to woo the staff with his long snapping skills of speed and accuracy. He made the team that day. No big deal. Ty was the 2017-2018 YHS Male Athlete of the Year. He is also an Eagle Scout and now a Lumberjack.
It won’t be a long collegiate football career for Peterson if he stays in Arcata. Humboldt announced the elimination of its football program after the current 2018 season. The move was announced on July 17. HSU has been playing football since 1924. It is another in a long line of California State University schools to cut football programs.
Northern California schools Chico State, Sonoma State, San Francisco State, Cal State Hayward (now CSU East Bay) all dropped football. Along with UC Davis and Sacramento State, this group was once called the Far Western Conference, all D-II schools.
Other Northern California programs that dropped football were the University of the Pacific, Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara. Long ago, USF even had a team.
In Southern California, Long Beach State, Northridge, Fullerton and Cal State Los Angeles all eliminated football years ago. Of the 23 CSU schools only five currently play football: Fresno, Humboldt, Sacramento, San Diego and San Jose.
Money is the reason. Keeping a football program going is expensive. But it’s a loss of opportunities for football players in California to continue to play a sport they love collegiately as well as get a college education.