OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and other city and school officials honored the McClymonds High School football team Friday for being the first Oakland public high school team to win a state championship.

Apparently referring to the recent Ghost Ship warehouse fire that claimed 36 lives and scandals in the city’s police department, Schaaf said to several hundred people at a lunch hour rally at the plaza in front of City Hall, “We’ve had a rough year but this is a moment of gratitude.”

McClymonds, which is located in West Oakland, defeated La Jolla Country Day of San Diego 20-17 on Dec. 17 to win the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5A championship.

Schaaf praised the team’s coach, Michael Peters, who’s led the team for 26 years, for “mentoring and inspiring generations of young people.”

Schaaf said, “My message to the rest of the world is to never underestimate Oakland, California!”

Oakland City Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney, who represents West Oakland, said, “Some people have counted us down and out but this football team showed what we’re made of.”

Referring to a lack of resources at McClymonds and in West Oakland in general, Gibson McElhaney said the team’s football players “are winners who’ve overcome some things we’ve failed to do for you.”

Referring to West Oakland youths who’ve lost their lives to gun violence, Gibson McElhaney told the football players, “You’ve taken the ball for some people who have fallen and you will take the stage at your graduation for people who aren’t with us anymore.”

Plashan McCune, McClymonds’ co-principal, said the team’s championship “is one of many exciting things going on at our school.”

McCune said, “We’re outpacing the rest of the school district and maybe the state in academic growth and many of our athletes have 3.0 grade point averages or better.”

In another reference to the shortage of resources at McClymonds, Peters thanked his son, Marcus Peters, who’s a cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs, for paying for the football team’s uniforms.

Desean Brantley, a running back and linebacker for the team who’s also the student body vice president, said one of his biggest memories of the team’s rigorous training program was having to run from Lake Merritt to McClymonds while wearing their uniforms and padding.

After the rally, the football team participated in a parade from City Hall to McClymonds.

Along the way, they traveled in an open-topped double-decker bus and went past seven schools in West Oakland.

© Copyright 2017 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed


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