For most high schools, especially public ones, few opportunities exist for out-of-state or even nonsectional games. This week was an exception. Aside from De La Salle traveling to Cincinnati for one of its annual marquee matchups, Pittsburg traveled to Long Beach Poly and in a much less publicized matchup, Pinole Valley played host to Lowry of Winnemucca, Nev.
Yes, Pinole Valley won in a cakewalk, 53-8, as Lowry was out of its league both literally and figuratively. Had it been just another league or local matchup, the game would have been forgotten by now. But the visitors from Winnemucca – - Lowry’s nickname is the Buckaroos – - brought something special to the field: an actual feeling of high school football.
Winnemucca is a place with a population of 10,000 at most. Lowry is the only high school in town and other high schools are few and far between. In such places, the high school game is the only sporting event in town. The Bay Area, in contrast, is perhaps too metropolitan to evoke such a feeling toward prep sports. High schools are numerous, and besides that, most football fans focus their energies on Cal and Stanford, or the Raiders and 49ers. The Bay Area is big and its residents think big.
The downside to games such as Lowry vs. Pinole Valley is the travel. Needing to fill a gap in their schedule, the Buckaroos trekked some 727 miles round-trip by bus on I-80 to play their game and return home. Having had to drive long distances to events such as the NorCal basketball playoffs (though not nearly as long as the Buckaroos had to endure), most of us in this profession can empathize with the Buckaroos. A day becomes very demanding.
Kudos to the Lowry High Buckaroos of Winnemucca, Nev. Thanks to you, what was otherwise a blowout football game became an event with a strong high school aura, something that isn’t always appreciated in these parts.