Reviewing the first high school football event at Levi’s Stadium, and five suggested future matchups.
State of Play: Mark Tennis
It wasn’t the Friday night lights of the Corral at Oakdale High, but for senior fullback Frankie Trent the Saturday afternoon sunshine he felt on Oct. 11 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara will warm him up until he’s an old man.
Trent scored a whopping six touchdowns to lead Oakdale past Manteca 42-21 in a matchup of Valley Oak League rivals that was moved to the new NFL home of the San Francisco 49ers when Manteca’s August game against Wilcox-Santa Clara had to be postponed due to turf conditions at the stadium.
“All week long it never hit me that we were playing here, but when we first walked on the field I got so excited and so pumped up,” Trent said. “After the first snap is when it started to feel a little like a real game.”
Although it was a tough afternoon for Manteca, its players sopped up the experience like a hungry dog lapping up tuna juice.
“The whole experience was just great,” said Luis Reyes of the Buffaloes, who scored twice on long plays. “Just unbelievable to see yourself on that screen. It just would have been much better if we won.”
The first Friday game in the event “” which was dubbed Friday Night Lights “” produced a tie in the state record book. It happened in the category for most interceptions by one team after Wilcox-Santa Clara collected nine of them in its 67-20 win over Santa Clara.
The other games during the weekend were between Jesuit-Carmichael and Elk Grove (Jesuit won 41-38 in Friday’s second game) and De La Salle-Concord and James Logan-Union City (DLS won 51-7 in Saturday’s second game).
In talking to at least one 49er official on Saturday, the concept of bringing in local high school teams to experience the thrill of playing at Levi’s was from the team’s Chief Executive Officer Jed York himself.
Judging from the crowds “” 11,115 on Friday and 8,906 on Saturday “” and the reaction of the players, it’s an event that certainly could be called a success.
It doesn’t seem like the 49ers, however, are interested in building the Friday Night Lights event into something bigger. It’s more about giving back to the local communities and letting as many local schools, their players and their fans get the experience of playing and being inside the stadium.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions we have for possible future matchups in the Friday Night Lights series. These are done with 49ers history in mind and with the condition that the games will be scheduled earlier in the season and would not be league games like they were this year due to the earlier cancellation from Aug. 30.
1. Palo Alto vs. Pitman-Turlock
This would be a competitive matchup and would involve the alma maters of head coach Jim Harbaugh (Palo Alto) and current star quarterback Colin Kaepernick (Pitman).
2. Washington-Fremont vs. Hayward
This matchup could be dubbed the Bill Walsh Bowl similar to San Jose State vs. Stanford. Walsh is a graduate of Hayward High and later began his legendary career as the head coach at Washington.
3. Valley Christian-San Jose vs. Pittsburg
Valley Christian has tons of 49er connections, and may have more than any other school. Three straight head coaches “” Steve Mariucci, Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary “” all had sons who played there. Former 49er QB Trent Dilfer has a daughter, Maddie, who led VC to a state title in volleyball last year. (Maddie’s younger sister Tori is now a sophomore captain for the Warriors.) And there also are former 49ers who’ve been coaches there, including current offensive line coach Ron Stone. Pittsburg is the home of the late John Henry Johnson, who is the greatest 49er (so far) from a Northern California high school. Johnson is an NFL Hall of Famer who still ranks as one of the top running backs to ever play for two teams “” the 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers.
4. Palma-Salinas vs. Edison-Fresno
They’ve got to get Fresno Edison into this deal somehow since the Tigers are where 49er Super Bowl winners Tim McDonald, Charles Young and Greg Boyd all went to high school. Palma is the alma mater of 49er Super Bowl-winner Chris Dalman, who is now Palma’s dean of students. His son, Drew, also is a promising 6-foot-2, 225-pound sophomore lineman.
5. Rocklin vs. St. Francis-Mountain View
Rocklin is where the 49ers did held their training camp for many years before Rocklin High even existed. St. Francis has been where the sons of several former 49er players (such as Ronnie Lott) have played in the past.
SportStars Magazine: High School Sports Articles Online SportStars is your go-to source for the very best high school sports articles in California. Player and team profiles, game coverage, health and fitness tips and the largest Camps, Clinics & Combine resource for athletes. We're the story behind the stats.