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Boise Schools Playing on Unfamiliar Home Turfs
For decades, Boise School District football teams have played off-campus home games. COVID quickly changed that
Published: 10/1/2020 6:37:52 PM

The year 2020 brought more than enough changes to the high school athletics landscape.

With COVID-19, smoky skies and adverse weather jumbling this fall’s sports slate, local high schools continue rolling with the punches during the most memorable season in recent years. 

In the Treasure Valley, where some of the state’s strictest COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, Boise School District programs are hitting an unfamiliar turf. 

Four schools — Capital, Borah, Timberline and Boise — are playing not under Friday night lights, but under the Friday afternoon sun on their own campus for the first time in decades. 

“I don't believe our varsity has ever played a game at Capital,” said Capital Head Coach Tod Simis. “It was unusual and a little surreal, but fun. I had never coached a game in my career where there wasn't a bus ride to BSU or Dona Larsen Park.”
Simis, as well as the three other Boise schools, have been unable to play games at their usual stomping grounds at Dona Larsen Park. Boise State University, which owns the facility, closed Dona Larsen to the public earlier this fall.
While the Mountain West announced football will restart Oct. 24, future use of Dona Larsen by local high schools remains unclear. 
Borah Head Coach Jason Burton, whose team plays Skyview at home Friday, said he’s looking forward to not getting on a bus for a home game. Borah has never played a game on its own turf, having played previously at Bronco Stadium until 2012, when Boise schools moved to Dona Larsen. 
The Lions will kick off against the Hawks at 4:30 p.m. Borah’s on-campus field does not have stadium lights, meaning the Lions will need as much daylight as possible to play. 
“We’re expecting a great game in the neighborhood,” Burton said. “Time makes no difference, we just move everything up 2-and-a-half hours. But the pregame meals aren't as big.” will broadcast Friday’s game. Click here to watch. 
As for Simis and the Eagles, playing in unfamiliar territory so close to home has posed its own challenges and benefits. Only 50 fans were allowed at Capital’s home debut, creating a quieter atmosphere not conducive to a high-intensity sport like football.
“It was quiet,” Simis said. “We had to make our own energy. From that standpoint, it felt a little like a scrimmage. But like most things, once we kicked off, you didn't notice it too much.” 
The Eagles won their home opener with ease, defeating Skyview 55-12. The Boise Brave will play their first home game Friday against Capital. 
“I appreciated walking out of the school to our field,” Simis said. “I think the kids really liked knowing that this had never been done before and it was a first.”
Unlike the three other Boise schools, Timberline’s season won’t take place at the high school, but at East Junior High four miles away.   
Timberline hosted Borah for its first home game and won 26-6. 

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