Modesto's CCHS Raiders take to the road

12/13/2012 8:15 AM

12/13/2012 5:08 PM

A bus full of bleary-eyed but sleepy teenagers pulled out of the Central Catholic High School parking lot this morning, as the Raiders varsity team made its way to Southern California for the Division 4 state championship.

Lugging bags from McDonald’s or Save Mart, or muffins and juice provided by supporters, team members climbed aboard for the 6½-hour trip to Carson.

Some of the players grumbled about the early hour — they started boarding the Storer bus well before sunrise. “We’re going to state — quit complaining,” one player advised his teammates.

“They are a special group of guys,” said Dennis Thompson, the team’s bus driver and waterboy (see a story about that in Friday’s Bee). “I’m as excited as they are.”

Connie Stark stood among the parents gathered to see their sons off, waving a blue and gold pom-pom. It was a bittersweet moment for Stark, whose husband, John, died suddenly last month. Their son, Spencer, decided to play the day after his father died.

“I’m very proud of my son,” Connie Stark said. “Just his tenacity to persevere... This is where he needed to be.”

Stark planned to join other parents in Carson for the game.

“I wouldn’t miss it,” she said. “No matter what happens, we have to be there for our boys.”

Central Catholic football team leaves for state championships.

Bus driver talks about Central Catholic football team.

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