Mendota Aztecs bring national attention to their city

Not many high school football teams land on ESPN, but the Mendota High Aztecs got to show the nation their hard work and dedication.
February 17, 2014 8:26:40 PM PST
Not many high school football teams land on ESPN, but the Mendota High Aztecs got to show the nation their hard work and dedication.

Chris Figueroa, one of the Aztec players, say he and his teammates are taking the spot light in stride.

"I was little surprised," he admits, "ESPN is national TV. To be on ESPN, you got to do something really big."

The documentary showed images of the town's poverty and unemployment, putting into perspective the challenges the kids have to overcome. Many of them have to work in the fields, on top of school and football. Mendota City Councilman Joseph Riofrio hopes it gives Mendota respect from other communities.

"You know for a community of such dedicated hardworking people, you know we're always the butt of jokes or used as an example of the community you don't want to be, hey, you know what we love our community," he said.

Sergio Valdez of Mendota Youth Recreation, which runs local youth sports programs hopes the story inspires Mendota's kids to chase success not only in sports, but in life.

"As long as our continue to see that vision, five years, three years, one year from now," Valdez said, "it's the bases for everything it starts right there, it inspires them."

Senior Edgar Segura, one of the primary focuses of the ESPN piece, says he's shifted his attention to academics.

"Right now, I'm trying to pick up my grades," he said. "I'm doing everything I can to make it to the next level.

Many would love to see that happen. The documentary helped launch a college fund for Segura, endorsed by the school. The principal hopes it will open the doors for him towards a future in football and education to hopefully serve as another story of success and inspiration to everyone in the community.

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