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Wildcats excited to play home games – at home

Wildcat Senior football players Bryce Sanguinetti, Lane Mierop and Colm Allan got up and walked out of Tuesday night’s Sonora Union High School District Board meeting in the library after two hours. 

The meeting, and discussion, continued for much longer, but they heard everything they needed to hear. 

Sonora High student body representative Sam McKinnie asked Measure J project manager Jeff Miller what turned out to be the most important question for Wildcat football fans — when the earliest construction could begin on Dunlavy Field.   

“Mid-to-late October,” Miller responded.

With that answer, the Wildcat home football season was basically saved, with Sonora’s last home regular-season game scheduled on Oct. 24.

“Once I heard they weren’t going to tear up our field until after the season,  I was happy and tired so I took off,” Sanguinetti said.

Board president Rob Lyons leaned back and peaked over Sonora Superintendent Mike McCoy’s head and told the audience after hearing Miller’s answer, “That should make a lot of you out there happy.”

Worries that construction would start immediately on $23 Million bond project, that was voter-approved in 2012, soon after the board gave it’s approval of the schedule, were unfounded.

In the end, the board wasn’t forced to make a decision to have home football or not. 

There was no loud cheer, just reserved, quiet celebration.

“I gave a little mental cheer because I didn’t want to interrupt the meeting,” Sanguinetti said. “But me and my friends went outside and celebrated.”

After the board approved the amended timeline Tuesday, the project goes into a 30-day comment period. 

It is then reviewed for a couple of weeks, and amended if impactful comments are made, before it returns to the board for approval.

Anyone who objects then has 30 days to legally contest.

One person who won’t legally contest to home football games is Sonora’s head coach.

“I’m extremely happy,” said Wildcat grid boss Bryan Craig. “We had plans in place to play elsewhere. We were working out all the logistics and were not looking forward to that, but we were going to do it. But to find out now we’re at home — I’m loving it.”

The Wildcats recover preseason home games against Lodi (Sept. 5), Ripon (Sept. 19) before jumping into their new conference, the Mother Lode League.

Sonora opens league play, now at home, against Argonaut (Sept. 26).

Two weeks later, Summerville pays a visit (Oct. 10). The county-clash, that is expected to draw a large audience, was orignially scheduled to take place on aThursday in Angels Camp.

Amador finishes Sonora’s home schedule on Oct. 24, where the Wildcats tentatively plan to hold homecoming.

But if all the home tilts help the Wildcats get back into postseason for the first time in three years, they better plan on being away.

“I’ve been told we won’t have any home playoff games. They’ll be at Summerville if that stadium is finished or at Bret Harte,” Craig said. “If it gets to that point, it’s OK, I’m happy to have my home season.”

“I wasn’t too thrilled about playing all road games, but this is my senior year and wherever we had to go to play I was gonna go,” Sanguinetti said. “But I’m stoked that we’ll be out there on our field on Friday nights.”

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