PARADISE, Calif. (KTXL) -- Before Paradise was destroyed by the Camp Fire exactly one year and one week ago, nearly 30,000 people lived there.
However, after so many lost their homes, there were more people at Friday night’s home game than there are who still live in the town.
As the crowds lined up around 45 minutes before Paradise took on Live Oak, Molly Holmes was already in her seat. Technically, she was the first in line, excited to watch her grandson play for the Paradise Bobcats.
“I told my grandson last night, ‘It is a football game.’ The operative word is game,” Holmes told FOX40.
But after the wildfire forced the team to cancel its season and miss the playoffs last year, Holmes knew this game was special.
“All those kids are so resilient,” she said.
With only three players still living in Paradise, it was decided coming into the season that the team would play as an independent this year. They didn’t want to ruin the league for the other schools if they couldn’t field a team.
So even though the Paradise Bobcats entered the playoffs undefeated, without earning points for league wins, they almost didn’t even make it to the postseason.
“So, for us out of the eight teams to be out of the playoffs and be 10 and, oh, was that very devastating,” said Paradise High School Athletic Director Anne Stearns.
By less than a point, the team did get in and used the momentum to easily win Friday night over Live Oak 56-0.
“I am so glad that we are all together here tonight and to be as one,” said Paradise High School student Josie Parrish.