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Paradise concedes quarterfinal game in wake of Camp Fire devastation

The destruction from the Camp Fire continued Friday when Paradise High School announced its varsity football team forfeited its Northern Section Division II quarterfinal home playoff game

Paradise High School’s historic Om Wraith Field is untouched by the Camp Fire that broke out Thursday morning. (Photo by Aaron Williams/Shasta County Sports)

PARADISE — The destruction from the Camp Fire continued Friday when Paradise High School announced its varsity football team would not continue its season and, in essence, forfeited its Northern Section Division II quarterfinal home playoff game, which had be indefinitely postponed, against Red Bluff, per athletic director Anne Stearns, first reported by Paradise Post’s Rick Silva.

Paradise earned the No. 3 seed in the playoffs at 8-2 following a loss to Pleasant Valley in Chico on Nov. 2.

Liz Kyle told Shasta County Sports that Red Bluff offered to forfeit the game to Paradise.

“Because of Paradise High School’s higher seed and successful record, Red Bluff High School has offered Paradise a bye to address the needs in their community, and the chance to move on to the second round of the playoffs,” she said in a release. “Paradise appreciates the support from the other football programs in the area, especially Red Bluff. It was an extremely difficult and emotional decision, but Paradise has decided it is best not to continue with their season.”

Earlier Friday, Paradise coach Rick Prinz talked about how his team was scattered, but safe.

“I’ve talked with our administration and our A.D. to see what we can do but honestly I spent the whole night wondering where my mother was not thinking about football,” Prinz said. “The coaches I’ve competed against have all been great offering anything we might need. Some even said I could come live with them. But all I could think about was how grateful I am that my family, players and coaches are safe.”

The Camp Fire broke out Thursday morning and quickly spread through Paradise and Magalia before working its way down to the outskirts of Chico by nightfall, forcing residents of Paradise to flee through the devastation, some with harrowing accounts of barely making it to safety. It burned 70,000 acres in 28 hours since starting and the 2,000 structures destroyed makes it the fourth-most destructive wildfire in state history, according to Cal Fire records.

The Chico Enterprise-Record reported Friday that Paradise High School was still standing. Paradise and Red Bluff were working with the Northern Section to move the game to a different venue and date but called it off. All players are safe, Prinz said.

“A lot of kids lost their homes and a lot of them are scattered around right now, but we’ve heard from everybody,” Prinz said. “I know three of my coaches lost their homes and I know whole neighborhoods burned. I am assuming I lost my home.”

Paradise nearly grabbed the No. 1 seed in the NSCIF D-II playoffs but lost the final week of the regular season. The top-seed would have earned the Bobcats a first-round bye. Red Bluff, the six seed, advances to play No. 2 Pleasant Valley in a D-II semifinal scheduled for Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.

HELPING OUT

Just like Butte County schools helped out in the wake of the Carr Fire which took nearly 1,100 homes and killed six people in Redding over the summer, Shasta County schools are rallying the community to return the favor.

Foothill High School in Palo Cedro is collecting donations during its Friday night quarterfinal game against Shasta High. Cash donations are being collected at the gate and designated members will be walking through the stadium with donation cans. Golden Valley Credit Union is assisting, Foothill High head coach Joey Brown said.

Staff Reports is content produced by the Shasta County Sports team.

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