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Semi-Pro football team in Chico gives players a second chance

The California Sun Devils field a squad full of players of all ages and they compete in the Pacific Coast Football League

Posted: Jan. 28, 2018 6:59 PM

Although the football season is coming to a close, gridiron action is still on tap with semi-professional football in Chico. Here's a story on the California Sun Devils, a team full of men of all ages who are trying to relive old memories and create new ones as well. Action News Now's Ross Field brings us the story.

The shoulder pads are strapped and the chin straps are snapped.

The whistles blow and practice is underway at East 20th Street Park in Chico.

No, this isn't a local high school team like Chico or Pleasant Valley, or the Butte College Roadrunners.

This team is known as the California Sun Devils.THE CHIN STRAPS ARE SNAPPED

"It's always lit out here!" Joe Foster said. "We always come out here and it's a family environment, you know we've got quite a few guys out here, it's just a lot of fun and we're happy to out there."

The California Sun Devils are a semi-professional team made up of players of all ages from Sacramento to Redding and even Reno.

They include former college and high school players. They come in all ages, shapes and sizes.

Juan Jimenez, a former Gridley Bulldog, is competing at the ripe young age of 58.

"I love it. I love being out with the younger guys and hopefully I can teach them a little bit here and there and show them how to never give up," said Jimenez.

Brice Flanders is a defensive back, but he also plays a big role in organizing the team. He says they play in the Pacific Coast League.

"We've been in this league for three years. They have teams from Sacramento to the Bay Area, as far as Fresno. Sixty players is what you can have on the roster, so we go anywhere in between 40 and 60 guys. We're just trying to take that throne from the Ssacramento team that's had it for the last two years," said Flanders.

But for these Sun Devils, it's about more than wins and losses. The team has great camaraderie and strives to give back.

"We want to do a Coat Drive to give back to the homeless people that don't have that coat or sweater that'll keep them warm when it's cold, so we can give back," said Flanders.

The Sun Devils will play their home games at Pleasant Valley High School or Chico High School. They'll hit the field for the first time this upcoming season on March 17th. Until then, it's time to get game ready!

"It feels really good you know to strap on that helmet, put on the shoulder pads, have that heart racing and to go out there and give it your all," said Flanders.

"Try to show everyone 'hey we're not quitters,' we just like to compete," added Jimenez.

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