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California town devastated by fire turns to football to heal

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2018, file photo, a home burns during a wildfire in Paradise, Calif. Paradise High School, in the Northern California town that was mostly destroyed by a wildfire in November 2018, is scheduled to play its first football game Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. The team will enter the field through the home stands, led by last year’s seniors who never got to play in their final game. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

By ADAM BEAM Associated Press
PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — A high school football team in a Northern California town that was mostly destroyed by a wildfire is a year ago is playing its first game since the blaze.
The Paradise High School Bobcats are scheduled to play Williams High School on Friday. It’s their first time back since a wildfire destroyed nearly 19,000 buildings and killed 86 people in November 2018.
Head Coach Rick Prinz said the team has 35 players, down from 56 last year as the school has lost nearly half of its students who were forced to move away.
School officials said they expect about 5,000 people to attend the game. The team will enter the field through the home stands, led by last year’s seniors who never got to play in their final game.