June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Woodbridge football team hosts Dana Hills in first true home game on campus

The captains from Dana Hills and Woodbridge meet before Thursday’s game for the coin toss. (Photos: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Woodbridge High School’s football team made history Thursday, playing the first game varsity ever on its campus field against Dana Hills.

Woodbridge plays its games at University High School. Before that, Irvine Stadium was the home for Warriors home games.

Dana Hills won the non-league game 31-21.

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

Woodbridge Principal Christopher Krebs said school officials had hoped to play at the campus field a couple years ago, but because of the pandemic, the first game was delayed.

Krebs, and Woodbridge’s first varsity coach Gene Noji confirmed it was the first varsity game on the field, which got an upgrade a few years ago.

“We’re super excited,” Krebs said. “We didn’t have a turf field until three years ago and it’s just changed the culture of the school to have it. In the 40th anniversary of the school, we were going to have our first home football game here and we planned to bring in bleachers but that didn’t happen because of the pandemic .

“When we came out of the pandemic everybody was so anxious to return to normalcy. We’re excited for the kids and it feels intimate.”

A decent sized crowd filled most of the bleachers on the Woodbridge side, which seats about 600. The Warrior marching band and the spirit squads entertained the fans.

“On campus, as far as I know,” said Noji, the first Warriors coach when asked whether it was the program’s first varsity game on campus.

Noji said he started coaching at Woodbridge in 1980. His son Randall, is an assistant coach with the Warriors.

Tatum Ramos had the first Warriors score on the campus field with a touchdown run in the first quarter.

However Dana Hills cut the lead to 7-6 on a touchdown pass from quarterback Jace Lowe to Charlie Eckl. The Dolphins extended their lead to 12-7 when Lowe hooked up with Nikolas Grguric on a a TD pass in the second quarter.

Dana Hills (3-2 overall) held a 25-7 lead before Woodbridge, coached by Aaron Craver, rallied cutting the margin to 31-21 in the fourth quarter.

Dana Hills Coach Tony Henney said on Twitter Friday that the Dolphins’ Noah Kucera broke the school’s single game receiving mark with 254 yards. The previous record was held by Owen Chambers, who had 251 yards vs. Aliso Niguel in 2021. Kucera’s 12 catches were second all-time in Dana Hills history, he added.

The game started at 4 p.m. There are no lights on the campus stadium. Woodbridge is 1-4 overall.

— Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com