Football players at Gunderson High School may not suit up for the season if they are unable to get needed equipment. George Kiriyama reports.
Twenty Gunderson HS Junior Varsity Football players do not have new helmets or shoulder pads to play with on the field.
With more boys trying out and the lack of new equipment coming in, these players are in jeopardy of being cut from the team.
"They want to play and when you got kids that want to get off the streets and want to do right and partake in a sport and you have to cut them or release them or let them go, it kinda hurts you," said Steve Papin, Gunderson High School Head Football Coach.
It hurts the players like freshman Lorenzo Olazaba. He's been coming out to the Gunderson football field every day since June to practice. With no helmet or pads, he can't take part in hitting drills. Instead he runs laps. All this adversity makes him hungry to play.
"Makes me want to be part of the team like the teammates, they're like family to me," Olazaba said.
With just 10 days to go before the kickoff of the high school football season, the players' parents are trying to raise funds to buy new helmets and pads for the 20 players. They need about $5,000 to make it happen.
"A struggle right now trying to get funding for the equipment," Jeanette Cardona, one of the football mothers, said.
The players know the new helmets and pads are for their safety. But they also worry about the future of Gunderson High School football. Parents say cutting 20 players off the JV team will stunt their football growth and their ability to play at the next level. Olazaba struggled to answer when we asked him about the possibility about being cut from the team.
"I don't really know, I can't say anything," Olazaba said.
There's a possibility the parents may hold an off-site car wash fundraiser this weekend. The season begins on Sept. 7 when Gunderson takes on Santa Teresa.