Bulldogs fans fill Wayne Schneider Stadium for opening game of 2013
by Bob Brownne
Sep 03, 2013 | 5292 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stadium rededicated
Wayne Schneider talks to the crowd before the start of the Tracy High varsity football game on Friday, Aug. 30, as the new Wayne Schneider Stadium was rededicated. Schneider led Tracy High to several championships as head football coach in the 1980s.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Retired Tracy High football coach Wayne Schneider wouldn’t miss a chance to support his Bulldogs.

Since retiring in 1994 after 26 years as coach, he has made it to all the Bulldogs’ home games, he said, and most away games, too.

On Friday, Aug. 30, Schneider got to watch the Bulldogs play in a modern 4,200-seat stadium that bears his name.

“This is a great honor,” Schneider said before the varsity game, a 32-21 victory over Sierra High of Manteca. “It's a first-class stadium.”

A dedication celebration on Friday, complete with green-and-gold halftime fireworks, reaffirmed the Tracy High stadium as Schneider’s namesake. The original stadium, which was torn down at the end of the 2011-12 school year, was named for Schneider, who led the Bulldogs to 17 league championships and two Sac-Joaquin Section titles, at the start of the 2008 football season.

The replacement — with artificial turf, an all-weather track and upgraded audio and video capabilities — is the main piece of a $9.9 million contract between Tracy Unified School District and Roebbelen Contracting Inc. of El Dorado Hills. The contractor also remodeled a group of 12 portable buildings, put in concrete walkways and courtyards and a new fire lane, and added seating and fences around the tennis courts.

Schneider told the crowd at the pregame ceremony that the stadium represents the Tracy community’s dedication to Bulldogs football.

“Tracy High School is a great place to work. The spirit is something else,” Schneider said. “I'd also like to thank the community of Tracy for the great support that they gave to our football team.”

Final attendance numbers were not available, but Friday night’s crowd filled the home-side bleachers with more than 3,000 fans, with more Bulldog supporters standing for the game or sitting on the visitors' side. Cheerleading coach Sheila Soares, Tracy High Class of 1983, said it was reminiscent of her own days as a Bulldog cheerleader.

“When I look up here, I'm seeing what we used to see when I went to school here,” Soares said. “Stands packed, everybody in Tracy. There’s a lot of history and a lot of generations in these stands.”

Tony Quintana, Class of 1993, brought his son, Elijah, who also will attend Tracy High in a few years, to the game. Joining them were Quintana’s sister, Virginia Cornell, Class of 1973, and father, Don Quintana, Class of 1953. Tony Quintana said that although he wasn’t a star of the Bulldog football team during his high school days, he has fond memories of playing for Schneider.

“I had to bring (Elijah) out for the first game,” Tony Quintana said. “It's neat to see the whole town come out.”

The crowd overwhelmed the Tracy Breakfast Lions snack bar, the only building that remains from the old stadium.

Lions President Jim Solarez said 20 volunteer club members saw their busiest night in memory. By the end of halftime, they had sold the last of their popular tri-tip sandwiches.

“Toward the end of the third quarter, we started running out of hamburgers and hot dogs,” Solarez said. “We went out and bought more and ran out of those, too.”

He estimated that the Lions served more than 400 hamburgers, 400 hot dogs, 200 pounds of tri-tip and enough sodas to empty the snack bar’s ice machine.

As always, the green-and-gold spirit was highlighted by the Dog Pound, the student cheering section led by Tracy High’s leadership class.

Senior Dalton Gualco, who had a big T painted on his face, said excitement for Friday night’s game had been building up all week.

“We put a lot of effort into this game, and the football players practice hard, so we're hoping for a good one,” Gualco said.

Daniella Santana, also a senior, added that the celebration marks the completion of construction that had been ongoing since her freshman year, requiring students to navigate around fences and heavy equipment.

“It took us forever to get to our classes,” she said. “We’re just so happy that our school is finally done.”

Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or brownne@tracypress.com.

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