The inspirational story of Mendota High football, seeing the Aztecs rally an economically depressed community with three seasons of remarkable success, will reach a national level Sunday, when ESPN airs multiple segments on the program.
The cable giant, culminating parts of six months with the team – from players working fields in the summer to the weight room, practices and games – will televise pieces of its documentary with “SC Featured” pieces on “Outside the Lines” at 6 a.m. and on SportsCenter at 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
In addition, an expanded, one-hour “SC Featured” special will be aired on ESPN2 at 8 a.m., including SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak’s recent in-depth interview with Mendota coach Beto Mejia, who was flown to ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Ct.
Also, a Spanish language version of the Mendota story will be seen on ESPN Deportes at 6 p.m., and a digital version of the story, with video, will appear on ESPN.com.
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Mejia – the “transformational coach” as described by Andy Hall, ESPN’s associate director of communications – is 32-4 with two section titles and one runner-up in three seasons with a program drawn from 700 students on Fresno County’s West Side. He was The Fresno Bee’s Coach of the Year in 2012.
ESPN also concentrated its cameras on Edgar Segura, The Bee’s Player of the Year last season and the most prolific running back in the section’s 121-year history.
Dos Palos High played against Mendota in an October league game, a 45-14 Mendota win.