Beejay Lee addresses the crowd on Tuesday night at city hall.
WEST COVINA – Think the celebration is over for the West Covina High School football team following its CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division championship won on Dec. 10?
The Bulldogs and their fans still were in party mode on Tuesday when the City of West Covina honored the champs with a ceremony in a courtyard at City Hall.
West Covina mayor Steve Herfert spoke to the crowd before Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore called to the stage his team and announced each player by name in attendance.
“We have a tremendous support group in West Covina,” Maggiore said. “It’s the only high school in the city. The city council has been great with us.
“The community has been great. I’m extremely proud of our guys and this is another way that we can recognize them.”
West Covina capped off a 13-1 season by beating Bonita in the Southeast Division championship game at Walnut High in front of a crowd estimated at 10,000. It was the Bulldogs’ second CIF championship in seven years and second under Maggiore.
The Bulldogs began the year with a loss to Covina but reeled off 13 consecutive victories, including a Hacienda League championship.
Following Tuesday’s ceremony, those in attendance received a free meal from an In-N-Out truck. Fans got a chance to talk with players and relive the season.
“It was enough for the fans to come out every game and give us a packed house every week, but it’s even more for them to give us a celebration as far as the city, and not just the school,” West Covina senior running back Beejay Lee said. “For the city to celebrate with us, that makes it a lot more special.
“It’s fun because (the city) keeps reminding of us of the work we put in this season. Usually, with most stuff in life when you accomplish something like this, it ends really fast. We didn’t know it was going to be this big, but West Covina is a really supportive city.”
As Maggiore explained it, the football team’s championship has set the tone for the school year and electrified the campus.
“It’s big deal. Football starts off the school year and it’s a marquee sport,” Maggiore said. “When you can go and have the type of season that we had, it does mean a whole lot. The kids put in so much time and effort, so it should mean a lot to people.”