SANTA MARIA – Valley Christian Academy has been playing 8-man football for several years, but tonight, there will be something every different at the VCA campus in Santa Maria.
"First Friday night game that we've had, first night game we've ever had at Valley Christian," said Pete Fortier, Valley Christian Academy Athletic Director.
The game versus Coast Valley League rival Shandon was originally scheduled for Saturday, October 13th. However, several members of the Outlaws have FFA commitments the same day that cannot by changed, so the team would have forfeited the contest. Neither side wanted that outcome, especially since the game is also VCA's homecoming.
According to Fortier, Shandon offered a unique solution of playing the game a day earlier on Friday, October 12th under temporary lights. "They actually offered to pay for the lights so we took them up on that," said Fortier.
The creative set-up will allow the small school Lions a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that players at larger schools get to experience their whole prep careers.
"It's a different atmosphere, it's a better atmosphere, people come and get excited and it's just that Friday night game," said senior Andy Wilson, who players wide receiver and cornerback.
Members of the Lions are hoping this Friday night experience will actually become a tradition or perhaps even become permanent sometime down the line.
"I think it kind of paves the way for the future players the opportunity to play under the lights," said Jed Hedlund, senior quarterback and cornerback. "Maybe in the future, the rest of the VCA football players can have lights and have night games every Friday night."
However, with the school so close to neighboring homes, it's not known how difficult the process would be to construct permanent lights. There is also the financial aspect to consider as well.
But for just one night at least, the Valley Christian Academy Lions will get to play on their home field like most of the other high school football teams on the Central Coast.
The Lions enter the game with an overall record of 4-1 and a league record of 0-1. Shandon is 2-4 overall, 0-1 in the Coast Valley League. Kickoff is set for 7:00pm.
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