There were a lot of firsts for Castaic High School on Tuesday. On the first day of school, the first-ever Castaic football team walked onto the first-ever Castaic football field to begin the fall season.
The area around the field is sparsely landscaped with no bleachers and no shade. There’s still some construction going on around the school, but the field took on meaning for the team.
“Grind and then sweat,” running back Aaron Gonzalez thought as he stood on the field. “A lot of that. It’s just a nice field and stuff, you just want to put your name on the field so everyone can know you in Castaic.”
The Coyotes are fielding a freshman team only in their first year of prep sports. They don’t belong to a league quite yet, but will play the West Ranch, Hart, Saugus and Golden Valley freshman teams throughout this season.
Castaic football coach Tony Uebelhardt is excited for the season, but is curious as to how playing against Hart will feel. Uebelhardt helped coach the Indians for the last six years.
“Seeing that red and black, it’s not intimidating for us and we’ll be ready, but it’s fun,” he said. “It’s football, it’s competitive and it’s like competing against your brother. Me and my brother were always on the same team but when we got in the backyard and played one on one, it’s a war. I think that game against Hart is going to have that same feeling.”
The Coyotes have a mix of experience on the team. Quarterback Davis Childs has been playing football for over seven years, but there are also players on the roster that have never played a down.
However, Childs, who played for the Outlaws and Warriors growing up, said the team became close rather quickly.
“We started coming together in, like, the first two weeks probably and we just started becoming a team and getting better,” he said.
Although Castaic is thrilled to be starting a new chapter in Santa Clarita football, they also know they’re still new to the scene.
“Everyone is kind of looking at us saying that we’re the new school, so they want to beat us,” Childs said. “So if we go out and win, it’ll show them that we can win games.”
The Coyotes will have their first chance to prove themselves in a game at West Ranch on Thursday.
Like many on the team, Gonzalez is nervous for the game, but he knows the pre-game anxiety won’t last long.
“I try to work hard every day because I know it’s going to be really hard,” he said. “We don’t have that many players, but yeah, it’s like football. When you’re nervous, first hit you’re not nervous anymore. It’s going to be fun.”