Middletown High School football team eager to return to field

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. (KGO) -- Many of the evacuees at the Valley Fire evacuation center in Calistoga are from Middletown, an iron-clad community where football brings them together on a Friday night.

They could use a morale boost, especially on a Friday night when the Middletown High School Mustangs are supposed to be playing their homecoming game.

Middletown resident Gerardo Cruz said, "Middletown needs to have a football game, bad. It brings everybody's hopes up. Friday night lights, everybody loves it."

Sadly, a pile of facemasks is all that's left in the team's burnt out equipment shack.

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In 31 years, Middletown High School football coach Bill Foltmer has built a powerhouse Mustang football program. He has more than 240 career wins on field that has been named after him.

Foltmer told ABC7 News, "I know just about everybody and you run into them, and they tell you that they lost their home and it's just heart breaking."

The fire spared Foltmer's home, but many of his players have nowhere to live, making getting back on the home field that much more important.

Foltmer said, "I think it's the first step in the healing process to get those kids back on the field and just get that sense of normalcy."

Middletown football player Justin Rainee said, "Personally, I'm ready to get back on the field. I'm tired of not practicing, just laying around."

Rival teams have raised money to replace Middletown's lost equipment and a practice has been scheduled for Monday morning. It's a sign Middletown is about to get back up.

Middletown was supposed to play El Molino High School Friday night in Forestville. Instead, that school got together, raised $10,000 and gave it to Coach Foltmer.

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