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Hilmar High rallies to aid rival football team
The Hilmar Unified School District pulled resources together to help the Sonora High football team travel to Hilmar to play in Friday's game. Sonora's school buses were being used to evacuate communities threatened by the wildfires. - photo by Journal file photo

Hilmar High School set aside rivalry and competition last Friday to demonstrate good sportsmanship and assist in providing relief for those affected by the Butte Fire.

Sonora High School was intended to host the Hilmar Yellow Yellowjackets junior varsity and varsity football teams, but was unable to do so because the school’s buses were being used for evacuations, and the air quality was too poor for the outdoor sport.

“It is so unfortunate what they are going through and we wanted to help in any way we could,” said Hilmar Unified Superintendent Isabel Cabral-Johnson. “Their superintendent and I were able work together and make the game happen. I told them whatever we made through the gate, they could keep the profits—we didn’t want to gain from this, we just wanted to help. ”

All proceeds from the gate were given to Sonora, and the booster club worked together to feed the football players after the game as well.

“Our school district sent two Hilmar buses to pick up their kids to come down,” said Hilmar head coach Frank Marques. “I’m so thankful for our superintendent and school district for making it happen.”

Hilmar paid for the transportation there and back, and the bus drivers were given gifts of appreciation from Sonora on the way home.

With all hands on deck, the school was able to put the game together within a half hour.

“Everybody pulled together—from the superintendent to the guy that managed the gate,” said Marques. “It’s just the philosophy of a small school and what I like most about this community. We try to help where we can and it was just the right thing to do.”