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Friday Night Feeling


Friday night football is back.

PHS vs RHS footballThough JUSD football teams competed in a modified season last spring, stands were mostly empty due to safety regulations.

“You didn’t get the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is what’s really the Friday night feeling. That atmosphere of the cheerleaders cheering, the crowd roaring, and the band playing,” shared Chris Fowler, Patriot High School's head football coach. “That’s what we all want to show our kids.”

PHS cheer teamThat Friday night feeling was in full effect on August 27th during the preseason rivalry game of Patriot vs Rubidoux High School. The Patriot Cardinal Regiment played music in the stands while cheer teams from both schools performed on the sidelines. “It’s great to be back out on the football field and cheering with our girls,” said Shawna Bukarau, PHS head cheer coach. “Last year was really challenging through the pandemic and not being able to do what we love.”

It was a home game for Patriot, meaning their stands were packed with students, families, and staff supporting their team. Rubidoux had a good showing of support as well. Though Jurupa Valley High School is also considered a rival, the close proximity between Patriot and Rubidoux always generates excitement for their matchups.

RHS Cheer team
“You don’t have to tell the kids to get ready. They’re ready for the Rubidoux week,” shared Coach Fowler. And ready, they were. Patriot took an early lead, and though Rubdioux fought until the end, the Warriors beat the Falcons 47-7. Despite the loss, Rubidoux maintained their school spirit with help from their cheer team. 

“The best thing about cheer is cheering on our team and [empowering] them to get better,” said Liliana Castro, RHS senior and cheer captain. Brian Jones, RHS head cheer coach, added, “[This season], we’re raising spirits and really focusing on supporting our athletic department and our school and our community.”

JVHS football
Coach Fowler called the win payback for two seasons ago when Rubidoux beat Patriot. To honor the defeat, administrators at Patriot wore Rubidoux jerseys during school lunch. This year, Rubidoux lived up to the same agreement. “We’re a lot better than we’ve ever been,” said Brandon Lopez, PHS junior running back and varsity captain. “And we’re going to keep getting better.”

But Patriot could not maintain the title of “King of Jurupa Valley” for long. The following week, on September 3rd, the PHS Warriors fell to the JVHS Jaguars after a close game. The score was 13-12. 

“That was an exciting game,” said Hugo Nevarez, JVHS head football coach. “It came down to the wire and we were fortunate to come away with the win. It was like a playoff atmosphere here.” Ismael Fuentes, JVHS senior running back and varsity captain, added, “It was a tough game. We both wanted the win and the stadium was packed. There was blue and red everywhere.”

JVHS cheer teamWith preseason games wrapped up, JUSD football teams are preparing for conference matchups, with the goal to make the playoffs. No matter the outcome, the Friday night feeling will prevail as long as cheerleaders keep cheering, crowds keep roaring, and bands keep playing.

“I think it’s important for cheerleaders to be at football games because we control the crowd in a way. We try to keep the momentum up, the spirit up. We try to hype up our football guys. It wouldn’t be a football game without the cheerleaders there," shared Brianna Ramirez, JVHS senior and varsity cheer captain. Andrea Ortiz, JVHS head cheer coach, ​added, “Without us, I’m not saying that the school’s nothing, but we are the spirit of the school.”

To learn more about JUSD football and cheer, visit the high school athletics websites: