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The Orion

Paradise High School Football Bounces Back

Paradise High football strategizes offensive plays during practice. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

“Resilience” is defined as “the ability to recover quickly from difficulties.” The Paradise High School football team seems to be the embodiment of that word.

Paradise High defensive coach advises the team on the play they are going to run through. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

After losing most of their town during the Camp Fire, the Paradise Bobcats have banded together as a family and community to start their season, and have dominated their opponents along the way with a record of 4-0.

Paradise Head Coach Rick Prinz attributes part of the team’s success to their collective mentality.

“We’re just trying to stay focused on one game at a time, it’s a lot of effort for the kids to get here everyday, but we have a long season ahead of us and need to stay focused,” Prinz said.

Paradise High snaps the ball during practice. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

The team has outscored their opponents by a total of 201-40 through their first five games, including two shutout wins against Williams High School and Sparks High School from Nevada.

“Our first game was incredible, and then we have had two home games since then that have been just amazing crowds, and the kids have been performing well but we know we still have a job to do,” Prinz said.

Running back face defensive linemen in a 3-on-1 tackle. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

The wins have Paradise High School feeling confident, but this season still has a long way to go.

“I think we’re happy that were 4-0 so far but I don’t think were satisfied yet, not until we have a trophy in our hands,” said Senior right tackle Kasten Ortiz.

Paradise nearly accomplished that goal last season and had an excellent run, finishing with an 8-3 record while being 5-1 in league.

Paradise High running back breaks through the defensive line. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

Their finish earned the team a spot in playoffs, but due to complications from the Camp Fire, the game was ruled a no-contest in Red Bluff High School’s favor after Paradise made the hard decision to concede.

Despite all of the negatives that this team has been through, the Bobcats have been doing their best to stay strong and united as a family.

“Even since before the fire, football has always been a huge part of this town,” Ortiz said. “So this is an opportunity for us to put the community on our shoulders, which is something that we take a lot of responsibility in and that we’re very proud of.”

So far this season, the community has been reciprocating the teams support. In the first home game of the 2019 season, nearly 5,000 fans and supporters came out to cheer Paradise on in a 42-0 blowout win in the Bobcat’s favor.

Paradise High player handing off to the team running back. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

“My favorite part of playing for Paradise is that even before the fire, this town has always supported us and rallied around us,” said Senior left guard Elijah Gould.

After week one’s blowout win, the Bobcats haven’t slowed down. They’ve won their last three games, thanks in part to the team’s unique brotherhood and motivation to bounce back from adversity.

Paradise running back getting blocked off by defensive player. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

“If I could describe this team in one word, it would have to be resilient,” Prinz said.

The team’s resilience and drive to win for their school and town has been evident this year on and off of the field.

“These kids really give a lot of effort to get out here everyday and come to practice and then are giving even more effort when they get here,” Prinz said.

Defensive line looks to defend the running back. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

The Bobcats take great pride in the role they play in their school’s community, on and off the field.

“On campus, I feel like we stick out and are the leaders of the campus which holds us to a bigger standard which we take as a good thing,” Gould said.

Paradise High School has started off the 2019 season undefeated. Photo credit: Lucero Del Rayo-Nava

When all the hard work and support that the Bobcats and Paradise give each other comes together, something truly unique happens. That’s what defines Paradise High School football.

Matthew Ferreira can be reached at [email protected] or @MattFerreira__ on Twitter.

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