SELMA — Home sweet home.
It was a moment that the town of Selma and the Selma High Bears football team had been waiting for since the Bears played their last home game in the fall of 2018.
On March 26, 2021, the Bears took the field inside the newly renovated Staley Stadium to start a season that seemed would never arrive. The Bears fell to Bullard High 46-31 but the score of the game could not damper the moment of finally opening the new stadium the town of Selma had been eagerly anticipating.
“It is really special. The community thinks of it like a super bowl, they don’t even care who we are playing,” said Randy Esraelian, Selma High Athletics Director. “They care that we are getting to play in our stadium once and for all. This is a stadium that is all about Selma.”
While a packed stadium, which would have been given in a normal year, was not in the cards for the game because of fan limitations put in place by the Department of Health, Esraelian said the excitement was still high around town.
“The anticipation was incredible, I couldn’t answer all of the calls from fans who wanted to attend,” Esraelian said. “The experience to be able to be able to be a part of the rebuild is something that very few AD’s ever get to do, and we feel very fortunate that we were able to be a part of this process.”
The Bears lost a hard-fought game, but for head coach Matt Logue, it was more about the opportunity the seniors and his team got to have in playing football in 2021.
“It was a great experience for all of us. This senior group deserves every bit of it. What they did last year, winning a section title with 14 games on the road is unheard of,” Logue said. “For them to be the group to be able to open up the stadium is awesome for them and awesome for all of us.”
Logue is in his fifth season as Bears head coach and has seen transformation at Staley Stadium throughout the years. He said that he is thrilled to see the new stadium in its glory.
“Any day you come out here you see people walking the track, this was built for the whole community. The weight room is something special. It is beautiful. They did a great job, and I couldn’t be happier.’ Logue said.
The opening of the stadium was a special moment for Jake Orosco, who himself played football at Selma High and is now a coach for the Bears, as he also has seen the transformation.
“It is a big deal. It is a blessing to have this stadium. It is well deserved. The town deserves it and I am just excited to be a part history,” Orosco said. “I know all the fans couldn’t come out, but at least some experienced this.”
The Bears return to Staley Stadium on Friday, April 2 hosting Kerman High School.
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