With the high school football season beginning this month, players from St. Francis and San Clemente have decided to dedicate the shortened season to two beloved coaches who died in recent months.
Jim Bonds, who served as head coach at St. Francis for 20 years, died on Oct. 28 after battling cancer. He was 51. Joe Wood, an assistant coach at San Clemente for 16 years, died Feb. 12 from COVID-19. He was 71.
Both losses are still being felt in the programs, and getting the chance to play will give everyone an opportunity to seek closure while laughing, crying, reflecting and admiring the contributions of Bonds and Wood.
"Coach Wood was a hero to me," San Clemente running back James Bohls said.
Ted Corcoran has taken over as the interim coach at St. Francis with the assistants who worked with Bonds. They are determined to keep the program's high standards and continue the legacy established by Bonds.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.