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High School Sports

Year after devastating fire, Paradise football team qualifies for playoffs

Paradise running back Brenden Moon, center, celebrates with teammates after the Bobcats’ season-opening win.
Paradise running back Brenden Moon, center, celebrates with teammates after the Bobcats’ season-opening win.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A year after their town was leveled by the deadliest wildfire in California history, the unbeaten Paradise Bobcats football team is headed to the playoffs.

In Division 3 pairings announced Saturday by the CIF Northern Section, fourth-seeded Paradise will host fifth-seeded Live Oak in a first-round game Friday at 7 p.m. at Om Wraith Field.

Playing a makeshift schedule with no league affiliation because of uncertainty over their school enrollment and team roster size, the Bobcats went 10-0 and outscored opponents 469-73.

This time last year, the Bobcats forfeited out of the playoffs after the Nov. 8 Camp Fire devastated their town and killed 85 people.

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“A year ago at this time, I didn’t even know if we would have a football team this season,” Paradise coach Rick Prinz said. “To be back in the playoffs is amazing, but we’re not satisfied. After all everyone has been through, after seeing our hopes cut short last year, this team wants to bring Paradise the state championship it deserves.”


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