Police forces ready for big game



Friday night will be a particularly bad time to try and break the law in Sonora.

This week, at least.

With an anticipated 10,000 people converging on Dunlavy Field for the Sonora vs. Oakdale high school football game, cops will be out in force.

This year, both teams are undefeated and will play for the Valley Oak League championship and for an inside track for the coming Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Sonora Police Lt. Patrick Tonegato said all of his officers, volunteers and Explorer cadets will be on duty Friday night not only at the game, but all over town.

The officers and volunteers will get a hand from California Highway Patrol officers and Oakdale police, as well.

Lt. Larry Parshall of the Oakdale Police Department said he will be at the game along with seven more uniformed officers. They are coming in the spirit of cooperation between the two rival cities.

And both Oakdale High and Sonora High campus security officers, who know their own students, will be at the game to help.

Tonegato and Parshall said they do not anticipate trouble. In past years, crowds have been big, but not unruly.

"I don't expect much more than perhaps minor shoving matches, which is common anytime this many people get together for a big rivalry game," Parshall said.

"We just don't want people to lose track that this is a sporting event," Tonegato said.

Nevertheless, CHP officers said they plan to escort the Oakdale team and rooters' buses into and out of Sonora, especially at the trouble spots along Highway 108 where, in the past, pranksters have thrown eggs at the buses, said Lt. Mike Ayala.

And if necessary, a room will be opened up at Sonora High to hold any rowdy people who need to be detained, Tonegato said.

Tonegato said the biggest problem Friday night will be traffic, especially after the game when everyone leaves at the same time. Parking laws will be strictly enforced, especially on the narrow streets surrounding Sonora High School.

The Union Democrat
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