Hillmen might leave the bus at home?

Sierra Scoop
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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The camaraderie and bonding of a long bus ride could be replaced by a mass carpool to games if things don’t change soon for the Placer High football program. Coach Joey Montoya sent out a letter to parents and boosters last week announcing the team had raised only about a third of the “participation and transportation” fees needed for the season. As a result, the school could be facing the loss of buses for transportation to and from some of the football team’s away games. Public schools are not allowed to require that students pay fees for athletics, an issue the American Civil Liberties Union stirred up last year when it backed several lawsuits filed in California. Instead, the program asks for a donation to help cover the costs of operating the program. Montoya said in his letter that the Hillmen raised nearly $20,000 last season, but as of early last week, the team had garnered just $7,200. Estimates for officials and transportation costs for the season come out to around $12,000. On Saturday Montoya said some players’ parents had chipped in and organized fundraisers to put a dent in the remaining balance. The junior varsity team was on a school-provided bus for its trip to Central Catholic in Modesto on Friday and Montoya said the team will have buses this week for its trip to Grant in Sacramento for the Smackdown in Sactown. The coach pointed out that programs at Del Oro, Colfax and Foresthill had no trouble covering the participation and transportation costs. “This is ridiculous for a school like Placer with its community pride and tradition,” Montoya said. The coach is hopeful the team can dig out of its financial hole. But he’s concerned about the future of Placer’s athletic programs if fundraising becomes a major obstacle to cover basic necessities. “We just haven’t had as many people pay this year and it’s definitely caused a big conflict,” Montoya said. “(The fees) are called a donation now and the perception has changed.” … Speaking of Placer’s football coach, he wasn’t sure quite what to make of Brookside Christian’s showing on Friday night. The Knights went to Central Catholic in Modesto and were demolished, 72-6. The Hillmen will face Brookside in their season opener Friday at Grant. Montoya anticipated a tough test from Brookside, which played in the CIF State Small-School Bowl game last season and returned star quarterback Tony Rodriguez. But Brookside had just three other returning starters from last year’s squad and may not provide the challenge the Hillmen had anticipated. ... The pinnacle of the ultrarunning season took place this weekend and it followed a familiar theme this year. Killian Jornet led a European domination at the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, a 169-kilometer (105-mile) trail race through the Alps. Jornet won the Western States Endurance Run in June, becoming the first non-American to claim the Cougar trophy. On Saturday, Jornet jogged into Chamonix, France to a hero’s welcome. He won his third UTMB title with a time of 20 hours, 36 minutes. Iker Karrera, another Spaniard, placed second and the top five finishers were from Europe.