Mendota (Calif.) HS football team’s heroic rise focus of new SC Featured

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“SC Featured” Air Times

The “SC Featured” Mendota story will debut on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET) and also will air on “SportsCenter” at 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. An expanded one-hour “SC Featured” special on ESPN2 at 11 a.m. will include an extended interview with coach Robert “Beto” Mejia, who visited ESPN headquarters and sat down with “SportsCenter” anchor Lindsay Czarniak. A Spanish-language version of the Mendota story will air on ESPN Deportes (Sunday, 9 ET) and will be hosted by Alvaro Morales. A digital version of the story, with video, will appear on on Feb. 20.[/box]

ESPN’s SC Featured will tell the inspiring story of a California high school football team across multiple ESPN programs and platforms this Sunday.

The town of Mendota, Calif. endures high rates of unemployment and poverty. Its residents are almost all Hispanic, many of them immigrants. Most of the Mendota High School football team’s players work in the agricultural fields around the town to help support their families. Still, the team has become a football powerhouse with the help of its transformational coach, Robert “Beto” Mejia, and star running back Edgar Segura.

“This is primarily a Hispanic community, and a lot of what makes this team who they are is based in the community and the issues that the community faces,” said Victor Vitarelli, senior coordinating producer of ESPN’s Features Unit. “So it’s a story not only about the team but the community around that team. It’s a very compelling sports story, and any time we get an opportunity to dig deep into what makes some of these teams click, we love those opportunities.”

ESPN’s SC Featured crew, led by producer Scott Harves, spent part of six months with the Mendota team.

“What makes Scott so good is that he has an incredible knack for finding the story behind the story,” said Vitarelli. “He knew right away there was something special here. Scott is passionate about telling stories that have a social bend to them. Through sports, he finds ways of telling these fascinating stories.”

Editor’s note: Friday, Front Row will present a behind-the-scenes look at Mendota High School head coach Robert “Beto” Mejia’s visit to ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters for an interview with Lindsay Czarniak.

(Rachel Pineda/ESPN)
Lindsay Czarniak with Robert Mejia (Rachel Pineda/ESPN)
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