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A Sacramento high school football field needs a facelift. Here’s how to help

Julius Douglas played high school football 15 years ago on a Sacramento field that had no lights for night games or even grass.

He wants young athletes at his former high school to have a better experience, and he helps Sacramento Charter High School raise funds to make it happen.

Douglas, founder of the non-profit Ceaze the Moment of Oak Park, spent years looking for ways to improve his community through food drives, feeding the homeless, donating food baskets, Easter and much more.

In addition to giving back to his community, he kept his passion for football. He mentors youth through the Sacramento Panthers.

He recently started a new program called the Players Project, a community service initiative to improve Sacramento Charter High School’s athletic facilities and support the football team.

“(Our) goal and our mission is to teach these young men responsibility, teamwork and integrity,” Douglas said.

Douglas has coached alongside Kimbbie Drayton, the head coach of the school’s varsity football team, for the past two years. He played football at Sacramento Charter High School from 2005 to 2009.

When Douglas was on the pitch, players competed on natural grass and had to be careful of the occasional pothole. They had no stadium, lights or grass.

More than a decade later, the team is still playing on grass with a few potholes. There is still a lack of grass and lights.

The school also lost its bleachers, as they were worn out. Drayton said the school typically rents out temporary bleachers, but doesn’t have the funds to continue the practice.

“Douglas told me to try to help the kids in Oak Park, to try to improve the facilities at Sacramento (Charter) High School, so the kids would have a better play facility and a better place to relax before and after the game,” Drayton said. “It’s something we really need and we’re really grateful to take any kind of help we can to try and show these kids a little something different that life can be better with a little help and hard work.”

A year ago, The Sacramento Bee reported that the campus had one of the worst fields in the area, despite having a top football team.

After the 2021 season, the Dragons posted a record of 9 wins, 3 losses. They are ranked No. 14 this year in The Bee’s Top 25 Preseason High School Football Rankings.

Over the past 10 years, other schools such as Luther Burbank High School and John F. Kennedy High School have acquired lights for their stadiums. Johnson and McClatchy High Schools received artificial turf and improved tracks.

“Each high school has a field. What about Sacramento High? The Oak Park community is still neglected and it’s not fair to these hardworking kids,” Douglas said.

” Why not us ?

The land is just one of the settling issues facing the school. Another is the deterioration of the locker room. Instead, players use a classroom with two microwaves, a fridge, and a few leftover chairs.

Most high schools have a press box that overlooks the entire field, allowing coaches and scouts to get game footage. Sac High lacks a traditional press box, making it difficult for players to be noticed by college scouts.

“I think often we are the most forgotten school. Everyone around us, down to the Christian Brothers, McClatchy, Johnson, they’ve all had grass pitches, they’ve all had the opportunity to improve their facilities. I’m just waiting for our school to get our turn so we can have (the same) opportunities other kids have to be taller, faster, more athletic and play on a bigger playground and play environment safe,” Drayton said.

In a 2021 interview with The Bee, Justin Reber, now a former sporting director and head coach, said pitches “harm their image” and that kids “deserve better” than the facilities they have to play on.

” Why not us ? Why don’t we have the opportunity, the same opportunity that other schools get to help make sure kids succeed? Why not Sac High? said Drayton.

How to donate to Sacramento High

Family and community fundraisers are common for the Dragons football program. The players took to social media to create donations, a short YouTube video where they describe their push for new uniforms, a new dressing room and travel expenses.

So far, Douglas’s Ceaze the Moment and Sacramento Charter have raised $3,000, but their goal is to raise at least another $10,000 which would be used to improve the playground with fertilizer soil and seeds to make grow grass, a safety fence, a new bench and Painting.

On August 6, the team is planning a “field resurrection” where they will plan to repair the field themselves. They accept volunteers and donations.

“The football team and I are teaming up to fix the pitch ourselves,” Douglas said. “We need the community to get involved.”

Donations can be made online to the GoFundMe account created to raise funds for the program.

Joe Davidson of The Bee contributed to this story.

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