The top high school seniors on the Central Coast will clash on the gridiron one last time in the second annual FCA All-Star Football Classic, with a significant boost from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
Players from 14 teams in Northern Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties will square off at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 2 at Atascadero High School in an event co-sponsored by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation and organized by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“The money we receive from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians goes a long way in helping us host the all-star game and provide the needed funds for the 14 high schools involved,” said Luke Llamas, the FCA area director. “The Chumash understand the significant underwriting costs involved and the promotional materials needed in putting on a game like this. We’re very fortunate to have them as a premier sponsor.”
“We recognize what a great accomplishment it is for a student athlete to take part in an event like this, and that’s what makes us proud to support it,” said Vincent Armenta, tribal chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
The foundation’s sponsorship includes a $14,000 donation, representing $1,000 for each of the schools participating in the all-star game. The South will be composed of players from Santa Ynez, Lompoc, Cabrillo, St. Joseph, Righetti, Pioneer Valley and Santa Maria high schools. The North will feature the best from Paso Robles, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Nipomo, Morro Bay and Templeton high schools.
“The state budget cuts these schools face make it hard for them to run their football programs and have the equipment and uniforms they need,” Llamas said. “As a nonprofit, we try to help them bridge the gap by seeking donations and raising money that they’ll use at their discretion. Mostly, it helps make sure their equipment, like pads and helmets, stay up to date.”
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation also hosted a reception to honor the coaches and staff members who donate their time to work with the all-stars and make the game possible.
“We wish all the student athletes the best of luck, and hope they really enjoy what will be their last big moment on the high school football field,” Armenta said.
Last year’s inaugural event, which the foundation also sponsored, drew a crowd of more than 5,000 to see the South defeat the North 27-7 at Pioneer Valley High School.
“The rivalries we have up here are more significant for these teams, and that makes the kids really care about this game,” Llamas said. “It’s a great way for the community to come out and see our best players on one field.”
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation has donated more than $16 million to hundreds of local groups, organizations and schools in the community as part of the Chumash’s long-standing tradition of giving. The foundation is governed by the tribe’s Business Committee.
— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.