The five Trinity League schools that call Orange County home have never played a varsity football game on their own campus.
That’s set to change this fall.
JSerra received approval from the San Juan Capistrano City Council on June 20 to host five varsity games on the school’s existing field during the upcoming season.
JSerra will play host Sept. 1 against Alemany of Mission Hills, Sept. 8 against Bishop Amat, Sept. 22 against Los Alamitos, Oct. 27 against Santa Margarita and Nov. 3 against St. John Bosco of Bellflower.
Pat Harlow, who was hired in December to take over as head coach at JSerra, said the opportunity to play on campus should be a huge lift for the players and community.
“In 14 years our kids have never had a true home game. Everybody is just stoked,” Harlow told the Capistrano Valley Dispatch shortly after the council voted 4-0-1- to allow the home games. “I think that will be a really cool experience for high school kids. It’s a great way to build school spirit and hopefully San Juan residents will come and watch us and we can make them proud.”
The Lions have been playing all their home games at Saddleback College since 2005, the second year of the varsity program, but ongoing renovations at the community college forced school officials to look elsewhere for the upcoming season. After considering a variety of nearby venues, JSerra decided to seek permission to play at home.
“Our only option was to play at home,” Harlow said.
The school plans to erect temporary bleachers at each corner of the field, enough seats for 1,000 to 1,500 spectators. Parking lots will be utilized on the north and south campuses on game nights and limited parking will also be available at nearby Kaiser Permanente medical facility and Saddleback Valley Christian School.
Santa Margarita also uses Saddleback College as its home stadium for football games, but the Eagles will play three regular-season home games at Laguna Hills High School this fall and two at Trabuco Hills High School.
Orange Lutheran primarily uses Orange Coast College for its home games (14 miles from campus), Mater Dei plays at Santa Ana Stadium (2.5 miles) and Servite at Cerritos College (10 miles). St. John Bosco is the only other Trinity League school with an on-campus venue.
Another major facility improvement within the Trinity League was the official opening of the aquatic center at Servite. The water polo team held its first practice in the pool on June 19.
The $5.3-million project had its groundbreaking ceremony in April of 2016 and hoped to have the project completed before the spring seasons, but the wet winter and other minor holdups delayed those plans.
The aquatic complex is the first major facility upgrade at Servite since the completion of the science and library buildings two decades ago.
The state-of-the-art complex includes a 51-meter pool with deep gutters. The pool features an energy-efficient design that takes advantage of solar heating. The swim lanes are extra wide, allowing for faster times, and other amenities include multiple floating and fixed cage water polo courses, pace clocks, shot clocks, a timing system, men’s and women’s locker rooms, track-start racing platforms, and warm-up and cool-down swim lanes.