Years from now, people at South El Monte High will reflect on Friday night’s first varsity football game against Cantwell Sacred Heart and wonder how they organized everything in time for kickoff.
Finishing touches are being put on restrooms, a snack bar, ticket booth and press box in preparation for the 7:30 kickoff.
Eagle Coach Bill Thompson has become the foreman of the operation. Thompson and a group of boosters are attending to the myriad duties of playing host to a game--publishing the program, arranging ticket takers, finding a public-address announcer, a vocalist to sing the national anthem, to name a few.
“You have to do everything from scratch and we’re trying to take care of as much as possible so the administration doesn’t have to focus on things,” Thompson said.
Then there is the game to worry about. Thompson, who coached the junior varsity to a 3-5-1 record in 1992, expects to suit up 24 players on the varsity--all sophomores and juniors.
South El Monte will compete as a free-lance team, but Thompson is hoping his young squad can win enough games to qualify for an at-large playoff berth.
South El Monte opened last year with freshman and sophomore classes. Next year it will have a full complement of students and graduate its first class.
Principal Victor Chavez said no special ceremony is planned before the game.
“We want the kids to get all the attention, we’re approaching it like a football game,” Chavez said.
But the student body, band, cheerleaders and team can’t wait for kickoff.
Thompson is trying to temper the excitement, but even he can’t resist the moment.
“I imagine as soon as I step on that field Friday night the adrenaline will be running pretty high,” he said. “It’s the biggest coaching game of my life.”