Minarets High School set for football debut

FRESNO, Calif.

"It's definitely been an experience for a lot of our kids because a good majority of our kids haven't played football before," said Co-Head Coach Jay Smoljian. "So I think it's been eye-opening for a lot of them."

Coach Smoljian says around 60 percent of his team has never played organized football. So for many it's the first time even seeing shoulder pads up close, lacing up their cleats and putting on a brand-new black helmet. But the coaching staff doesn't see that as a negative.

"They have a clean slate so whatever we teach them they learn," said Co-Head Coach JD Burnett. "So it's actually worked out to our advantage."

Freshman Steven Johnson's only football experience before this year was in video games.

"My coaches. They excite me to get out here and tell me what to do and get it right," said Johnson. "It's been fun here. Just being the first football team to be at Minarets is great."

Johnson says his size, or lack thereof, will be an advantage come Friday nights.

"Well, everybody else is all huge. You kinda can't see me in there. If I get the ball, I'm down the field."

And next month the mustang football program is headed downfield as well.

"It's been great," said Burnett. "We have a really good group of kids. They work really hard since we've started and I expect really good things out of them."

"It's on now. It's here," said Smoljian. "It's August and we have a game soon in three weeks. It's exciting. I love this time of year. We've got the equipment on and Friday nights are fast approaching."

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