Programming note: For comprehensive 49ers coverage from Santa Clara, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight around 7:30 p.m., immediately following Giants Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SANTA CLARA – Four high school football teams will not open their seasons as scheduled at Levi’s Stadium on Friday, Aug. 29.
Each of the games at the 49ers’ home stadium has been re-scheduled for October 10th and 11th. The change of dates features a new format that enables four additional high schools to participate in a two-day event consisting of high school football double-headers on consecutive days.
Famed De La Salle High (Concord) and Jesuit of Sacramento, and Wilcox (Santa Clara) and Manteca will have their season-opening games moved from Levi's Stadium to different locations.
All four schools will now be hosting games with new high school opponents: Santa Clara High School vs. Wilcox, James Logan High School vs. De La Salle, Oakdale High School vs. Manteca, and Elk Grove High School vs Jesuit.
The international soccer game featuring Mexico and Chile will take place, as planned, on Saturday, Sept. 6.
But, first, the 49ers will play host to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday in an exhibition game. There is no contingency plan, as the 49ers guaranteed the game will be played on a safe field, Guido said.
“It’ll be ready,” he said.
Workers at Levi’s Stadium began ripping up the grass field – sideline to sideline and goal line to goal line – on Thursday morning. The installation of the new grass field began Friday at 4 a.m., Guido said. It’s a deeper cut of sod – one-and-a-half inches thick -- than the original turf, which was installed in mid-April.
“We did have a plan in place to re-sod the field, obviously not this early,” Guido said. “But once we saw the footing issues, we did not want to play an NFL game on that on Sunday, so we replaced the whole field.”
The 49ers and Denver Broncos played Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. There were only minimal issues with the footing. But when the 49ers practiced Wednesday, the field conditions had deteriorated. Coach Jim Harbaugh took his team off the field after about an hour due to safety concerns.
Guido said Candlestick Park was routinely re-sodded late in the season. The issue with the playing surface at Levi’s Stadium appears to be more about the consistency of the sand underneath the layer of sod.
The original grass that was installed in April was Bermuda Bandera. Another variety of Bermuda, called Tifway, is also commonly used as sports turfs. The 49ers will use both kinds of grass throughout the course of the season, depending on which inventory is in better condition for immediate use, Guido said.
After Sunday's game, the soil will be analyzed and the 49ers are likely to make additional modifications to get ready for the soccer match and beginning of the NFL regular season, Guido said.
The 49ers have not seriously considered installing artificial surface at their new stadium.
Said Guido, “We feel very comfortable that we can maintain great grass in this climate. We have tremendous practice fields. Candlestick Park played well. We are not looking into Field Turf. We are looking into making sure the solution is great for 49ers games as natural grass.”