Breaking in the Veterans Stadium in Merced

MERCED, Calif.

The two teams played in a brand new state of the art facility at Golden Valley High School located at Parsons near Childs. The two Merced schools will share the field during home games.

Back in May thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of materials used to build the stadium. But school district officials have been working overtime to make sure this game went off without a hitch.

A kick off ignited thousands of screaming football fans Thursday night.

The Merced High bears took to the field at Veterans Stadium for the first time ever at Golden Valley High School.

Justin Maxwell plays left tackle on the offensive line. His father Gary cheered him on from the stands.

"It's pretty exciting. We're just excited to be here on this new field. The turf and sharing it with Golden Valley is a little awkward but we're going to make the best of it." said Gary Maxwell.

The mutli-million dollar facility features state of the art field turf. It's the same kind of material used in several NFL stadiums. But the season opener against Clovis west almost got delayed by several weeks.

In May thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of materials including aluminum benches. Merced Police arrested Mark Elder and charged him with having some of the metal in his truck.

District officials claim only a fraction of the stolen items were recovered by the contractor building Veterans Stadium.

"They lost a lot of material. Some 15-20 thousand dollars. They recovered about four thousand dollars just in bolts. And after that process they started to discover how much stuff was actually missing." said Travis Kirk.

Travis Kirk says the contractor worked feverishly at no extra cost to taxpayers to replace the stolen items.

Golden Valley head football coach Jake Messina is sure glad that happened because his boys have been able to prepare for their game on Friday night.

"Considering that we were practicing on a baseball outfield last year. Practicing in a facility like this helps us quite a bit." said Messina.

Make sure to mark your calendars for November 4th. that is the game of the year. It'll be Merced versus Golden Valley. The Cougars versus the Bears. And Merced will be looking to win its sixth straight Mayor's Cup title.

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