Bullard High will host first football game on campus. What Don Arax (Class of 1982) is saying

For the first time in the school’s 65-year history, Bullard High will host a football game on campus.

The Knights play Pitman-Turlock at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The field is located off Browning Avenue on the north side of campus.

“We’ve been working on that quite a number of years,” said Bullard co-coach Don Arax, who is a Knight Class of 1982. “We got kind of surprised that it got approved. It’s great for our community, and playing football on your campus is a wonderful thing and that’s the way it should be.”

Through a scheduling quirk, six of seven Fresno Unified schools have home games this week.

On Thursday, Hoover meets Monache at Sunnyside and Fresno will face South at McLane.

On Friday, Sunnyside hosts Clovis East, Roosevelt will play Granite Hills at McLane and Edison will oppose Clovis North at Ratcliffe Stadium.

That left Bullard officials with the idea of playing a true home game. Fresno Unified agreed.

“We put our heads together and a lot of people put in a lot of work to get this done,” Bullard athletic director Brandon Gilbert said. “We’re really looking forward to it.”

The field is surrounded by a lighted, all-weather track installed about 2011. Bullard will add bleachers to those already in place and borrow bleachers from Roosevelt to provide seating on both sides. There will be portable toilets.

“We feel like it’s going to be an intimate setting,” Gilbert said. “Probably be 2,500 fans and it’s going to be loud.”

It is not certain if Bullard will have another on-campus game. But Gilbert said it “gets the conversation started for down the line for all of schools in Fresno Unified. who don’t have stadiums” to have true home games. The only football stadiums on district campuses are at McLane and Sunnyside.

Friday’s game at Bullard figures to draw proud alumni. The school will honor the 2009 Central Section championship team during the game, and Arax said he talked to a man who went to Bullard in the 1960s who said he wants to be at the game.

“It’s that kind of deal and hopefully we can do more of that in the future,” Arax said.

Said Gilbert: “For all of our kids, they’ve never been able to do that. For them to do that on Friday is something they’ll always remember.”

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Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.