At least a couple of local high school football teams will have to wait a little longer to open the 2022 season and the heat could affect the opening start times of all games played in the Valley.
Porterville Unified School District announced on Thursday the Monache-Mission Oak and Strathmore Exeter games will be pushed back about an hour due to the heat. As it stands now Porterville High is scheduled to play at McLane at 7:30 p.m. today and Lindsay High is scheduled to host Bishop Union at Frank Skadan Stadium at 7 p.m. today
Monache will host Mission Oak at Rankin Stadium at about 8:30 p.m. today about an hour after the originally scheduled start time. Strathmore will host Exeter at about 8:15 p.m., also about an hour after the originally scheduled start time.
PORTERVILLE AT MCLANE, 7:30 P.M. TODAY
Porterville has high hopes this season as it returns 14 starters, eight starters on offense and six starters on defense. Among the leaders for PHS will be recivers Cooper Fish and Freddy Nunez and running back Jaret Garcia.
Sammy Alcantar is also expected to stand out as a running back and free safety. Junior Rocky Aguijo steps in at quarterback for the Panthers.
PHS also has a lot of size on the line and at linebacker with at least four players weighing 245 pounds or more.
MONACHE VS. MISSION OAK, 8:30 P.M. TODAY, RANKIN STADIUM
Monache will have a tough task to start the season when it opens with Mission Oak, which again has high hopes this season. The two teams are no longer in the same league as this will be a nonleague game.
But it was last season in which Monache almost ruined Mission Oak's perfect season in the East Yosemite League. Mission Oak led 27-0 midway through the third quater, but the Marauders almost pulled off the miracle comeback to stun the Hawks, losing 27-26 only after a failed two-point conversion.
Among Monache's leaders are running backs Damien Espinoza and David Leyva. Monache expects to have a strong running game behind a strong offensive line. Joaquin Leyva is among the leaders on the offensive line.
Mission Oak's Kenny Jackson is considered one of the top receivers in the area.
EXETER AT STRATHMORE, 8:15 P.M., TODAY
Strathmore was the “Giant Killers” killers last year, beating Roosevelt, Monache, Sunnyside and Reedley in the playoffs before falling to Bakersfield Christian in the quarterfinals after playing up in Division III. The Spartans finished 11-1 last season.
SHS will again step up in class against Exeter in a game that's billed as one of the games to watch to begin the season.
Among the top returning players for Strathmore is receiver Cael Alkire and Jacob Poole also returns at running back.
Bryson Bias steps in at quarterback. Among the top lineman for Strathmore are Patrick Likewise and Ruben Morales, who's considered to be one of the top linemen in the area.
BISHOP UNION AT LINDSAY, 7 P.M., TODAY
Lindsay also has high hopes coming into the season with a much more experienced team. Sam Reyes returns at quarterback and among his top targets will be Fernando Martinez at receiver. The Cardinals also have a talented female kicker with a strong leg in Isabella Duran.