Sonora High School's 2003 football schedule, announced today, is just about the same as last year's except with home sites reversed.
The only new opponent is Pitman of Turlock, which will field its first varsity team, in place of Folsom in Week 7. Pitman had a pretty good sophomore team last season in its first year of existence, a team that knocked Los Banos out of a tie for the Valley Oak League sophomore championship with Sonora and Oakdale.
The Wildcats and Pride will play Oct. 24 at Turlock High. It'll mark the only time the Sonora and Pitman varsities will play in a VOL game, as Pitman is ticketed for the large-school Central California Conference in 2004-05 along with longtime VOL member Los Banos.
Sonora opens Sept. 12 at Dunlavy Field against Johansen of Modesto, its first-game opponent since 1998, then visits Sheldon of Elk Grove on Sept. 19.
Sheldon, 1-9 last year including a 38-21 loss at Sonora,performed an instant upgrade in the offseason by hiring Ed Lombardi as coach. In 14 seasons at Elk Grove High from 1986-99, Lombardi went 113-47-2 with seven Delta League championships and three Sac-Joaquin Section Division I titles. His 1998 team set a record by scoring 77 points in the section finals against Atwater (77-22). He coached the last three seasons at Central Section power Clovis West in Fresno.
The Sonora-Sheldon game will be played at Elk Grove High.
Sonora entertains Galt on Sept. 26, and begins VOL play Oct. 3 against Sierra at East Union High in Manteca. Manteca comes to Dunlavy for Sonora's Homecoming on Oct. 10, and after that are a road game against East Union on Oct. 17, the Pitman road game Oct. 24, Sonora's final game against Los Banos on Halloween night at Dunlavy, a road game against Buhach Colony at Atwater High on Nov. 7, and the traditional regular-season finale against archrival Oakdale on Nov. 14 at Dunlavy.