Mission Viejo football hosting inaugural First Responders Night as part of San Clemente showdown – Orange County Register
Support our high school sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribe now
MISSION VIEJO — Seniors Travis Anderson and Jonavan Asuncion have played in their share of big football games for Mission Viejo. Showdowns against Long Beach Poly. Clashes with Centennial Corona in the playoffs. But on Friday, they’ll compete for a heroic cause much closer to their hearts.
It strikes at home.
The Diablos will play host to their inaugural Mission First Responders Night when they face San Clemente in the teams’ anticipated South Coast League opener at 7 p.m.
The theme holds extra significance for Anderson and Asuncion, whose fathers work as a firefighter engineer and sheriff commander, respectively, in Orange County.
“It’s going to be a true honor,” Anderson said, “(to) play for my dad and other First responders.”
Mission Viejo has poured considerable effort into a night that will honor police, fire, medical and other professionals who respond to emergencies. The school collaborated with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Orange County Fire Authority, along with football program sponsor Under Armour and booster parents.
The Diablos’ players will debut black jerseys with the word “VALOR” on their backs, and shoulder patches representing Orange County Fire and the Orange County Sheriff.
Mission Viejo’s helmets will also be black with white and yellow stripes at the bottom, and its logo circled.
“Be honorable,” Asuncion said of the uniform’s message. “You’re playing for something bigger than yourself.”
Mission Viejo plans to honor about 75 First responders at the game, assistant coach Garrett Gray said. The honorees, he said, include Anderson’s father Jake and Asuncion’s father Virgil, along with Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes and Orange County Fire Authority chief Brian Fennessy.
A few San Clemente parents also are among the honorees, Gray added.
The activities will stretch beyond the field. Police and fire vehicles will be in the parking lot for spectators to visit, and a sheriff helicopter is expected for a fly-by just before kickoff between the two top-10 ranked teams in Orange County.
“What we’re trying to do is build a rapport and relationship (with First responders) that the community can get behind,” Gray said. “We just appreciate what they do, so that’s why we want to honor them.”
Gray, a consultant with Under Armour, said he and Mission Viejo coach Chad Johnson began discussing hosting a First responders game during the pandemic and in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Their idea was to unite the community through high school football.
“There’s a lot of issues right now with community policing, and the African American community or any minority community. There seems to be some tension,” Johnson said.
“If we can somehow start this movement where we bring these two different groups together, and we can start mending fences and bridging gaps … maybe that will go a long way to repairing some of the communities that have been fractured by some of the events of police brutality or whatever the case my be.”
Virgil Asuncion, the former chief of police services for Laguna Niguel, views the night a positive step in that direction.
He noted that law enforcement was rocked last month by the ambush-style shooting death of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy in Palmdale.
“It just shows that times are different,” said Virgil Asuncion, who worked a command post at the mass shooting at Cook’s Corner in August. “It’s great to highlight those who are trying to strive to keep our community safe. … We’re not above anyone. We just want to help everyone we can.”
Mission Viejo’s football program holds a few special connections with First responders, and others who have made a difference.
At a game in 2017, late team physician Dr. Mark Legome re-set the broken leg of running back Jamari Ferrell, who not only recovered but now plays at Wyoming.
The Diablos created a hero award in remembrance of the Konrad Reuland. The tight end died from a brain aneurysm in 2016 and his heart and one of his kidneys were transplanted into Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew.
Those heroic stories will be stirred again Friday, perhaps inspiring a new generation of First responders.
“A lot of athletes go on to do fire and police,” said Jake Anderson, who played football at Trabuco Hills, Saddleback College and Youngstown State in Ohio.
“It’s all about team work. Being in stressful situations and being able to handle that, and being there to work together as a team when it matters.”
Should you have any inquiries or unique requirements related to luxury apartment living in Riverside, CA, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our passionate team is on standby, excited to offer tailored solutions that align with your distinct living preferences and desires. We are dedicated to enhancing your apartment hunting experience in Riverside's upscale neighborhoods.
Luxury Apartment Blogging
Our team crafts meticulously researched, up-to-date, and engaging blog posts that resonate with the sophisticated tastes of our audience, positioning Top 10 Best Luxury Apartments in Riverside CA as a premier guide in the luxury living space.
Our expertise is not just limited to blog posts. We specialize in comprehensive content offerings such as luxury living guides, neighborhood highlights, and deep-dives into unique apartment features, all tailored to illustrate the grandeur of Riverside’s luxury apartments.
Website Content Writing
A website's initial impact is crucial. Through our content, we guarantee that our website mirrors the elegance, exclusivity, and top-tier offerings Riverside's luxury apartments have to offer, and if you need articles for your business, we offer that too.
Social Media Management
In the dynamic landscape of today's digital age, maintaining a notable presence on social platforms is essential. Our team adeptly manages this aspect, ensuring that Riverside’s luxury apartments are portrayed consistently and impressively across all channels. We also offer Social Media Management for you as a service, we post on your Facebook account as often as you wish.
Website Maintenance for User Experience
Our aim is to make your online journey as seamless and luxurious as the apartments we list. To this end, we ensure our website remains updated, secure, and user-centric, making apartment hunting a delightful experience. We offer WordPress Website Maintenance for your business website if needed.
For further details, inquiries about ad placements, content requests, social media engagements, or listings on Top 10 Best Luxury Apartments in Riverside CA, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Warm regards, The Top 10 Best Luxury Apartments in Riverside CA Team