Carson football will roam the national airwaves this season.
The Senators first game against Clayton Valley (Calif.) at the Honor Bowl at 8 p.m. on Aug. 30 will be broadcast nationally via iHeart Radio, according to Mark Soto, executive director of The Honor Group, which organizes The Honor Bowl.
Soto said the five games, which begin on Aug. 29, are expected to be streamed live online, although he did not have details of which Internet service will produce the games. He said further details about the streaming will be released next week.
“Both marquee 8 p.m. games will be broadcast live (on radio),” Soto said. “A high school game has never been broadcast that way on Clear Channel.”
The Senators join fellow Northern Nevada teams Fallon, Reed and Damonte Ranch who will also compete at the 2014 Honor Bowl.
Team apparel is also for sale starting today at www.bsnsports.com. With each purchase, $10 will be donated to The Honor Group in its efforts to purchase equipment for disabled soldiers. Orders will be taken from today through Aug. 4.
“The name captures the essence of the event,” Soto said, “and that is honoring our military men and women, the wounded and fallen.”
The game, which has morphed into an event, was inspired by Soto’s son, Marine Sgt. Josh Soto, who was injured twice in two deployments in Afghanistan. He suffered back injuries and was forced to retire from the Marines. Mark Soto’s other son, Ben, is an active duty member of the Army but has not been injured.
He was also part of the worst attacks for casualties suffered by American troops in Afghanistan. Josh Soto, a member of 3rd Battalion, was part of a combat effort that suffered 25 deaths and more than 200 wounded, including himself.
Mark Soto said his son recently had back surgery and hopes it will alleviate his pain.
But the dread Mark Soto heard from his son’s voice overseas and the helplessness Mark Soto heard from his son after friends were killed in combat was the inspiration for The Honor Bowl.
“It was that and what my family went through,” Mark Soto said. “That’s what started this. Four years into this, the schools have got it. Look at Fallon, that is where TOPGUN is. The coaches get it and the kids get it.”
The event, meanwhile, has had a meteoric rise. It started in 2010, gone through several name changes and locations before settling on The Honor Bowl.
This season provides prep football fans with two weekends of action and 20 schools from four states — Nevada, California, Hawaii and Washington. The second round of Honor Bowl games is slated for Sept. 5-6 in Oceanside, Calif., home to the marine base Camp Pendleton.
Mark Soto said the average attendance in the past has been about 7,000-8,000 fans, but is bracing for a larger turnout this year.
Although the Hawaiian school Kamehameha and Washington’s Bellevue may not bring many fans, the Nevada contingent expects to be strong as well as the local fans from Loomis, Sacramento and San Diego County areas.
Adding to the hype is the national radio and Internet broadcasts, which Soto hopes will lure more spectators through the gates. Not lost on Soto, though, is the cost the schools are willing cover to travel for the game.
“To know they believe in us that much … that’s costly and a lot of schools don’t have that budget,” he added. “It’s humbling and honored. All of us are honored that these guys are coming to play with us.”
As for the celebration saluting members of the Armed Forces, Soto said numerous activities are planned. Each team will be visited by a drill instructor and wounded vet in the locker room prior to the game.
The money being raised, meanwhile, will directly benefit wounded soldiers. For example, the group raised funds last year for an Action Track Chair, which is an all-terrain wheelchair.
In addition, fans will be treated to a paraplegic body suit, which allows the individual to walk, Soto said. The price tag, however, is steep.
Soto said the Action Track Chair costs $15,000 and the body suits at about $130,000.
Also planned are skydivers, a military expo and a surprise Soto will not disclose yet.
“We want our donors to see where our money is going,” Soto said. “Some of the bigger nonprofits the money gets lost. We want our donors to see the money is going to buying that track chair and putting that amputee in that track chair.”