SANTA ROSA, Calif. (Scott Reiss/KTVU) - Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa was destroyed during the devastating wildfires in October. And that means the football team had nowhere to play, let alone the five players who lost their homes.
So, returning to the field has been especially significant for the team at the private Catholic school, despite the fact that the boys now may commute up to an hour to get to practice and no longer have a locker to store their gear.
There is solace in sports and the players cling to their tight-knit community.
"Football meant everything to me after the fire," said player Beau Barrington.
The fact that the team has no real practice space and have to throw passes in a borrowed gym doesn't matter. It's the fact that they can be together to share in the grief and the joy.
"We need each other right now," Coach Paul Cronin said.
The team will be in the playoffs on Friday night against rival Rancho Cotate High School. They are two wins away from a straight division title. The game will be played at Santa Rosa Junior College since Cardinal Newman no longer has a field.
"We used to play for ourselves," said player Nate George, " but now we're playing for everyone."