Santa Maria, Calif. - Friday night lights, sights and sounds of high school football on the Central Coast went dark and quiet in 2020 due to Covid-19 and public health restrictions.
At Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria, Panther Pride and football spirit remains very much alive in 2021.
The football team is focused on getting back on the field of competition before the end of the current school year.
"Especially after all of our hard work, on and off the field, in the weight room, we're not stopping because of a little setback", said PVHS football senior linebacker Gilbert Martinez, "luckily for us it still hasn't been confirmed that our season is cancelled, its just been on a pause."
As pressure mounts to fully re-open public schools, the return of student athletics remains part of the game plan.
"What we're doing out here that is sports related is basically safety, safety first", said PVHS Athletic Director Anthony Morales, "there are so many guidelines that are given to us by the CDPH, as well as CIF, and most importantly our school district."
Overcoming adversity and never giving up is what football is all about.
"Its taught me and my teammates not to give up. We're still working our tails off at home", adds Gilbert Martinez, "I still hope we have at least one more game before its time for us to hang up our cleats."