Press-Telegram (Long Beach)

Muir and Pasadena will play all home games at iconic Rose Bowl

- By Fred Robledo @sgvnsports on Twitter

Hoping to shine a light on what has been a difficult year for high school student-athletes, the Rose Bowl will allow local football teams for Muir and Pasadena to play their home games at the famed stadium over the next month and a half — a gesture that is sure to bring a lot of joy and excitement to what has been a long and grueling wait to play during the coronaviru­s pandemic.

Muir and Pasadena traditiona­lly play against each other in their Pacific League-ending football game at the Rose Bowl, an annual tradition called the Turkey Tussle.

But this year all home games for each school will be held at the iconic venue.

The home stadiums for Muir and Pasadena are both undergoing renovation­s. Both teams were not going to be able to play home games during this COVID-shortened season, and they figured the Turkey Tussle at the Rose Bowl was in doubt, too, because of the time of year.

But Rose Bowl general manager Darryl Dunn explained that all the stars aligned, because there were no events planned at the Rose Bowl over the next few weeks.

Dunn said Pasadena councilman Tyron Hampton

helped spearhead the effort. Conversati­ons were held that involved the city, school districts and city manager, and the group worked together to make it happen.

“It’s a pandemic and everyone has to help out any way they can,” Dunn said. “We didn’t have any big events coming up, and the kids have gone through so much that we’re happy to be in the position to make this happen for them and provide them with this experience and the memories that come with it.”

The schedule for the Pacific League contests at the Rose Bowl has been set, but it could change.

On Thursday, March 25, Burroughs will play Pasadena at 3 p.m., followed by Muir and Crescenta Valley at 6:30 p.m.

On Thursday, April 1, Arcadia and Pasadena will play at 4 p.m., and on Friday, April 9, Burbank and Muir will play at 4 p.m.

The annual Turkey Tussle will be the final game of the season between Muir and Pasadena on Friday, April 16 at 4 p.m.

As of now, no parents or other spectators will be allowed to attend the games, though that is subject to change. Beginning April 1, Los Angeles County will allow some fans at outdoor venues, so there could be discussion­s at a later date about allowing fans at these games.

It has been a difficult year for high school football players, who did not know if they would have a season due to the coronaviru­s pandemic. They received welcome news recently when the California Department of Public Health revised its return to sport guidelines and allowed high school football to return in most counties this month, including Los Angeles County, though there will be no CIF Southern Section or CIF State playoffs.

The season has started on a tough note. On Friday, Arcadia and Crescenta Valley each had to cancel their season openers on March 19 due to a player at each school testing positive for COVID-19. The teams will have to quarantine for 10 days. The cancellati­ons also impacted Muir and Burroughs, who had games scheduled against Arcadia and CV, respective­ly.

But the news that the Rose Bowl stepped up, and that schools like Burroughs, Burbank, Crescenta Valley and Arcadia will also get to enjoy the same Rose Bowl experience that Muir and PHS have enjoyed for years, will surely bring a lot of smiles to a lot of players.

“It’s really big that the City of Pasadena and the Rose Bowl came together to be good stewards for the community and to Darryl for listening to what we had to say to make this happen,” Hampton said. “The Rose Bowl stepped up in a major way.”

Muir coach Zaire Calvin said for a year that has been so difficult, this is about the best news possible.

“We went from being homeless to moving on up to the granddaddy of them all,” Calvin said. “We’re going to feel like UCLA for a minute, playing our home games at the greatest stadium there is.

“It’s going to be amazing, just amazing. After what COVID has put us through, after what these players have gone through, this is the light at the end of the rainbow.”

On Friday, Arcadia athletic director Milica Protic talked about the devastatin­g news of her school’s football team having to cancel its opening game against Muir due to COVID quarantine. Protic was the athletic director at Muir prior to Arcadia and knows how exciting it is for the players to experience the Rose Bowl. She said for Arcadia’s players to be able to experience that as well is going to be a phenomenal experience.

“They deserve it, I mean what an end to a really stressful year, to have an opportunit­y to experience a game like this in the Rose Bowl,” Protic said. “It’s just a big wow. What a way to finish the 2021 COVID year than to have our players feel and experience what it’s like to play in one of the best stadiums in the country.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA