2018 Football Preview: Hemet High School

Jason Thornburg’s Bulldogs include plenty of fresh starters playing on a fresh field

Photo by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
The Bulldogs practice Aug. 2 on their new turf on Von Driska Field.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

More than 60 new players have joined the Bulldogs’ varsity football team this season, complementing the 26 returning players. But perhaps the biggest change on the Bulldogs’ turf this season… is the turf! As a matter of fact, the new turf was only in service for two days at the time of this report Aug. 2.
The Hemet Unified School District approved the turf just in time for the 2019 season. The new turf comes with a bright new design, designed by Coach Jason Thornburg: “Dr. Shaw and Mr. Anderson gave me the privilege of… designing the color scheme….I kind of had an idea of what I would like, and they just let me run with it, and I think everyone’s happy (with it). The kids are excited to get on it!”
Thornburg has 26 years of experience in coaching, so that, combined with a clear vision, led to a colorful new field for the football team, the soccer teams, the lacrosse teams and the community to play on. Being available to the public to arrange for use throughout the year, Von Driska Field is a field the whole community can stand by. And on.
For players, it’s not just about stepping onto a new field this year; it’s about making their families proud. For these senior linebackers, these people drive them the most:
“My dad,” says Tyler Richardson, who cites Asst. Coach Jeff Galloway as his best influence on the field. Tyler says his dad also played football for Hemet.
“My mom. She’s the one that when I get home or after a game, she’s the one who tells me (how I looked after the game). She’s just always been there, ” says Josh Lopez, who says the brotherhood formed with the football team as well as the love for the game itself keeps him going.
“My dad,” says Elijah Bratcher, who says that his lifelong love of the game has kept him on the field, as well as his dad.
That’s not to say they don’t aim higher than that; Thornburg hopes this year to get the coveted victory bell back from San Jacinto. To do that, Thornburg is pushing his team to “Score more points than they do” by being more physical. Thornburg believes his team is more physical than last year, and is in good shape to motivate towards a league championship.
But before the Bulldogs get to face the Tigers, they must face other breeds of competition: Their first opponents in the 2018 season will be the Chaparral Pumas, whom they will face in Temecula on Friday, Aug. 17. In the meantime, Thornburg goes back to sharpening his “Dawgs claws.” They’ll need them for the big cats.

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