Prep football teams make alternate plans due to Kezar Stadium construction 

click to enlarge Kezar Stadium, which houses the home football games for Sacred Heart Cathedral and Mission High, will be closed until early 2015 because of a $3.2 million makeover to the track. - WILLIE EASHMAN/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Willie Eashman/Special to The S.F. Examiner
  • Kezar Stadium, which houses the home football games for Sacred Heart Cathedral and Mission High, will be closed until early 2015 because of a $3.2 million makeover to the track.

When Sacred Heart Cathedral beat Saratoga 38-7 at Kezar Stadium on Friday, it was the last football game at the storied athletic venue for 2014.

According to Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman Connie Chan, construction at the famed San Francisco field will start next week, which coincides with the start of the Academic Athletic Association -- The City's public-school athletic league -- schedule.

The football field itself will not the be touched as the track -- which annually hosts the middle and high school city championships in addition to being a place where the general public can put in miles of running -- will get a $3.2 million makeover. Chan said construction is expected be completed by "early 2015." The track was installed in 1991 and has developed holes, which are obviously trouble spots for casual runners, much less athletes in competition.

Due to the construction, Sacred Heart Cathedral and Mission -- which play their home football games at Kezar -- have had to scramble for new homes. Also, the San Francisco Section championship -- better known as the Turkey Bowl -- is still being played on Thanksgiving Day, but it will be played at Lowell High School.

SHC will play all but one of its remaining home games at Terra Nova High School in Pacifica. On Oct. 31, the Irish will host St. Francis at Westmoor High School in Daly City.

Also, the Bruce-Mahoney game -- the rivalry between SHC and St. Ignatius -- will be played on a campus site for the first time since the mid-1990s as the Wildcats will host the Oct. 25 game. AT&T Park was considered, but its booked that weekend. City College of San Francisco and Washington High School also were considered, but both schools came to an agreement to play at SI, where portable bleachers will be brought in to accommodate the 4,000-5,000 expected spectators.

"It's unfortunate, but we're making the best situation," Sacred Heart Cathedral athletic director Phil Freed said. "Alumni and the parents of the kids will have no problem making the game. For the students, it'll obviously be a challenge because it is a trek, but we'll see. We'll make the best of the situation."

For Mission, the Bears are in a complete different situation. All of their games will be on the road, but they will be designated as the home team in a few games. The games that they're the "home team," Mission will wear its home brown uniforms.

Mission does have experience playing on the road as the School of the Arts has been a venue they've played their games at in the past.

"What I do is call the coach of the team we're playing and figure out what jerseys to wear, and we don't mind standing on the visiting sidelines," Mission coach Joe Albano said. "We did this a little bit last year, but it's just kind of annoying. The whole league is disappointed with the fact that Turkey Day will not be at Kezar, because it's such a great venue."

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