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MacDonald Football Making Varsity Debut This Fall 

Welcome to the big leagues: the 2024 high school football season will be the inaugural varsity campaign for the MacDonald Condors. MacDonald’s 2026 class, which started out all by themselves as a freshman-only high school two years ago, will be juniors this fall.

After two years of fielding only junior varsity team sports, the Condors will now have varsity and JV squads. For the football team making the jump to varsity, they will be featuring a roster without a single player having had varsity experience. Unlike their opponents, they will be playing with no seniors on the roster.

That fact alone will make Head Coach Burt Codera’s squad underdogs in every game they play. However, if you ask the man in charge, that is right where he loves to be, playing the underdog role.

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“I’ve been warning [my players] that they need to be ready. We are the underdogs. Every single week, we are the underdogs, which is the position I like to be in,” smiled Codera after practice. “There’s no pressure on us; no expectations from us. Most people are just happy we are fielding a team. But us coaches and players, we know with the talent that we have that we can do some damage.”

Quarterback Moussa Fall, running back and linebacker JR Leonard, tight end and linebacker Saiosi Hautau, linemen Boston Oliveras and Aaron Xu are just a handful of the 2026 leaders that could make the difference for the underdog Condors winning more than they lose this season, despite the inherent disadvantage of having no 2025 class.

Last season these same leaders led the JV team to an undefeated season. Many of the games were blowouts. Yet any sense of overconfidence going up to varsity after such a strong JV season a year ago was snuffed out with their first taste of varsity action in seven-on-seven drills earlier this summer.

“We got kind of humbled a couple weeks ago,” chuckled Codera. “We hadn’t done anything varsity level yet and then we did a little seven-on-seven, real casual with another school. And probably the first twenty plays where our guys were deer in headlights. Our guys hadn’t seen this type of speed. We hadn’t seen this level of football. They settled in eventually and got going, but afterward, they all admitted they could tell that this is a little bit different.”

The seven-on-seven was certainly a good learning lesson going up against higher level opponents. However, it wasn’t the only lesson of how things can change for these young student athletes.

“I think at first it was kind of hard for them, coming in as ninth graders, I don’t think most of them wanted to come here,” responded Codera when asked about the pride in being trailblazers for the program. “They wanted to go to Santa Clara or Wilcox with their buddies. But once they got here and then they realized they have a good staff with great teachers, great facilities, this is where we want to be. This is what we want to do. We’re starting a culture; we’re starting a tradition, and I definitely think they have bought into that and take pride in that.”

The Condors will open the season at home Aug. 30 against their cross-town rival Santa Clara Bruins, whom Codera coached previously before taking the Condors job. One can expect quite a raucous crowd for that kind of season opener.

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