Football: It’s a happy ending for Cleveland High players after Rams come to the rescue
Team helps Cleveland High football players with new gear.
Only weeks after being hired as the new football coach at Reseda Cleveland last February, Matt Gentle faced the uncomfortable task of standing before his players and telling them that the nearly $7,000 raised for spirit packs had been stolen out of his office. The thief broke two windows and took the money from his desk.
Gentle tried to raise additional funds but to no avail. Then one of the players’ parents, Samantha Koerner, took it upon herself to send an email to Kevin Demoff, executive vice president of the new professional football team in town, the Rams.
“I didn’t think anyone would read it, let alone respond,” she said. “Within five minutes, Mr. Demoff responded and said he would have his people on it.”
On Tuesday afternoon in the Cleveland High gym, players were surprised by what they saw: TV cameras, cheerleaders, new cleats, new shorts, new gloves and new protective headgear donated by the Rams, Adidas and Gamebreakers. Rhe real cheering started when Rams defensive end Robert Quinn walked through the gym door wearing a black sweatshirt that said, “The Land Football.” Soon he was joining the team in the bleachers, taking selfies and offering a big smile.
“We love giving back to our community,” Quinn said.
It was the first time since their move to Los Angeles that the Rams have stepped forward to show what they hope they will become -- a major contributor to the youth of the area.
“It’s amazing,” Cleveland quarterback Jason Levin said. “We’ve always been a bit of an underdog. For the Rams and Adidas to have been able to help us and care for the underdog is very much appreciated. It’s a privilege to have all this.”
Levin said he remembers the day his coach told the players about the theft.
“That was horrible and heartbreaking,” he said.
An LAPD spokesman said fingerprints taken from the office produced no hits, and the case remains open.
Gentle said he is just thankful that this players can move forward.
“For the Rams to reach out and stand by their word that they were going to take care of it means a lot of us,” Gentle said.
The players shouted out in unison with Quinn afterward, “Go Rams.”
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