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High school stadiums will remain empty this fall
Amare Padilla
The start of the 2020 prep football season will be delayed until the first week of January due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ceres High’s Amare Padilla will spend time with his family and play video games on Friday nights this fall.

High school football stadiums throughout Stanislaus County and California will remain empty on Friday nights for the next four-plus months.

The 2020 season was supposed to kick off on Aug. 21 but was postponed until the first week of January due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ceres High and Central Valley were scheduled to play West and Pitman, respectively.

Both games were rescheduled for Jan. 8.

“It’s definitely going to be different playing in the winter,” said Derrick Goblirsch, new head coach of the Hawks. “We’ll be ready when we get the call.”

Ceres High’s Amare Padilla and Central Valley’s Isaiah Hidalgo have both grown accustomed to competing under the lights on Friday nights.

Padilla and Hidalgo are both fourth-year players.

This will be Hidalgo’s third year at the varsity level.

Padilla is a second-year varsity player.

“It’s going to be weird. I’ve been playing football this time of year for the past 10 years. It kind of sucks."
Isaiah Hidalgo

“It’s going to be weird,” Padilla said. “I’ve been playing football this time of year for the past 10 years.”

“It kind of sucks,” Hidalgo added.

Hidalgo racked up 1,844 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns during his junior campaign with the Hawks.

He earned Central California Conference honorable-mention recognition.

A standout running back, Hidalgo gained 983 yards and tallied 12 TDs, both career-highs, on 205 carries.

He caught 26 passes for 163 yards and one score.

Hidalgo totaled 537 yards and two touchdowns on 20 kickoff returns.

He had 161 yards and one TD on seven punt returns.

Padilla ran for 145 yards and three touchdowns, caught eight passes for 88yards and one TD and had 66 yards passing in six games.

Padilla and Hidalgo talked about their plans for Friday nights prior to the start of the season. “I’ll be doing the same thing I’ve been doing for the past few months,” Hidalgo said. “I’ll work out and relax. I’ll also watch high school teams from other states play football on YouTube.”

“I’ll be at home relaxing with my family,” Padilla added. “We’ve spent a lot of time during the quarantine. We were already close. It’s made us even closer.”

Padilla will also dedicate time to online gaming.

“Me and a couple of guys on the team are going to play Madden, NBA 2K and Call of Duty,” he said. “It gets super competitive. It’s fun. Sometimes, you get lost playing it for hours.” 

Goblirsch will dedicate more time to family and teaching leading up to the start of the 2020 campaign.

“In the last five months, I’ve spent so much time with my family,” he said. “It’s been nice. You don’t get a lot of down time when coaching two sports.”

Goblirsch doubles as Central Valley’s varsity baseball leader.