As the 2017-18 school year winds down at Gridley High School – with the 2018 seniors graduating this Friday night – the Gridley High School football team is already looking forward the fall.
The 2018 season won’t start for the Bulldogs until Friday night, Aug. 31, when Gridley hosts Paradise.
But as anyone who’s ever been associated with football knows, there are four seasons.
The preseason, the regular season, the postseason, and the offseason.
For the Bulldogs, the offseason started immediately after last year’s CIF Northern Section semifinal loss to Sutter.
It continued in recent weeks with several weeks of spring practice.
For second-year Gridley coach Matt Kemmis, there are many encouraging signs as the Bulldogs come off a 9-3 season that included a playoff victory.
That success is reflected in the numbers for spring workouts, with about 50 players out to get a taste of what they can expect in the fall.
For Kemmis, spring workouts are a chance to get a head start on the fall and see who he can count on next season.
“I’m pleased with the turnout,” Kemmis said after a recent workout. “There’s a lot of interest.”
The Bulldogs will have to replace some key players, including quarterback Jace Villapania, a three-year starter.
But that’s part of life in high school football, and Kemmis said rising senior Davis Mardesich has been impressive so far as he vies to fill Villapania’s shoes.
“We’re going to use spring ball to take a look at some kids, see what we’ve got,” Kemmis said.
Fall practice will get underway the last week of July.