The Los Angeles City Council honored Narbonne High School’s powerhouse football team this week for its stirring, come-from-behind victory in the state championship game.
Councilman Joe Buscaino, whose district includes the Harbor City campus, welcomed members of the team and coaching staff to City Hall, many for the first time. Inside council chambers, players, coaches and school administrators were presented with a plaque marking Narbonne’s second state title in three years.
“Congratulations! We love you,” Buscaino told the Gauchos.
Clutching the white football helmet the players signed in gold ink and gave him, Buscaino said after the ceremony: “We had an opportunity to recognize their incredible victory but also to recognize that these young men not only taught us the importance of faith, of family, of sportsmanship and character on the field, but off the field as well.
“These are young men that Narbonne High School really developed, and showed the importance of having high moral character both on and off the field.”
These traits, he said, were apparent during Narbonne’s rousing comeback victory Dec. 16 over the Northern California team from Pittsburg at Cal State Sacramento. Trailing the Pirates 21-0 in the first half, Narbonne fought back to beat the northern regional champs 28-21.
The victory marked only the second time in L.A. Unified School District history that one of its schools won a state championship in football. Narbonne is the only district school to achieve the feat, having also captured the state crown in 2015. The Gauchos have won nine of the past 10 City Section championships, including four in a row.
“I want to again congratulate the Narbonne football team for another amazing season,” said school board member Richard Vladovic, whose district includes the school. His representative, John Larson, gave the team a resolution signed by the L.A. Unified school board. “This amazing group of student athletes, led by one of the finest high school coaching staffs in the nation, have yet again made their city and their district proud.”
L.A. Unified’s school board honored the team during its regular session in January. Said interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian: “These L.A. Unified student-athletes achieved in the classroom and on the football field, showing how well they compete and demonstrating what they have learned in our district. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
So far, eight members of the championship squad have been chosen for full scholarships, mostly by large schools playing in the Pacific-12 conference, including USC and Oregon State.
Head coach Manuel Douglas, who has coached at the school for the past 15 seasons, said he appreciated the recognition his team has received.
“It’s just an honor that they take the time out of their busy schedules to acknowledge these kids,” Douglas said of the L.A. City Council. “This is one more opportunity for them to experience something that most people don’t get a chance to do. It’s a privilege for us, and I appreciate that they do that for us.”