Several thousand Gilroyans lined the streets Sunday to cheer on the Gilroy and Christopher High football teams which won their respective California Interscholastic Federation section championships, the first time both won simultaneously. Gilroy won a championship in 1926.
The parade, which started near the Gilroy Medical Center on West Sixth Street, wound its way west, then south on Miller Avenue on its way to Christmas Hill Park. Sounds simple? Well, it’s not, but Christopher High Football mom Deanna Franklin along with a team of supporters, Mayor Roland Velasco and the two schools got together quickly to get the job done. It was nothing short of a touchdown.
“It was a miracle it got done,” Franklin, whose son, sophomore Wyatt Franklin plays for Christopher High, joked. “We got the mayor, the school principals, the cheer moms and the quarterback club together in a room and we just got it done.”
The support of the parents and the community was well noted by Gilroy High Head Coach Jubenal Rodriguez.
“The parents did a phenomenal job organizing the parade on such short notice, Rodriguez said.
“It’s amazing to have such a rare opportunity like having two champions like this. I think that it’s going to bring a lot more awareness that we have some football players here and that it will help to increase the numbers for both schools.”
The achievements add to the sporting legacy of Gilroy which includes Gilroy High’s powerhouse wrestling program, former Pro Bowl Quarterback Jeff Garcia and Major League Baseball’s Chris Gimenez.
“The support of the community was unbelievable,” Franklin said. “We really wanted to see both teams together and to see all those smiling faces and that energy was fantastic.”
The city needed to roll out its hurry-up offense to help plan the parade and to make it run smoothly as Marshall Faulk on artificial turf.
“It was a proud day for all of Gilroy and the community showed up to celebrate our champions,” Councilmember Dan Harney said. “Besides the players being celebrated, it was great how from both high schools’ marching bands, cheerleaders and color guards marched together.”
Gilroy High players were ready to flaunt an undefeated season, which included a 24-6 victory over Christopher in October. As players from both sides mingled at Christmas Hill Park after the parade, several were shouting for a no-pads rugby match. The desire to keep balling was alive and kicking.
“Oh yeah, we’d totally play them, right now,” said Gilroy High senior Tony Andrade.
Gilroy’s historic football achievement has not gone unnoticed in Silicon Valley.
“I was at a recent Silicon Valley Clean Energy Board of Directors meeting and all the other cities were talking about how our kids set a new record with two division champions in a school district,” Harney said.