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NORWALK - Tuesday, Dec. 17, was officially declared Lancer Football Day in Norwalk, a ceremonial gesture in recognition of the remarkable season had by Norwalk High School's football team this year.
Most team members visited City Hall, where they were treated to free pizza courtesy of So Cal Pizza.
The Lancers advanced to the CIF division championship game on Dec. 7, where they lost in double overtime to La Serna. It was Norwalk's only loss all season.
On Tuesday, council members took turns not only congratulating the team on their season but thanking them for bringing the Norwalk community together.
"This football team instilled civic pride here for the first time in 40 years," said Vice Mayor Marcel Rodarte. "Thank you for all you did. We can't say it enough."
Councilman Mike Mendez, himself a former high school football coach, said the Lancers' season was a success even with the title game loss.
"The hardest lessons are learned when you lose," said Mendez, whose older brother played football professionally for the San Diego Chargers. "When you don't win, you gotta keep moving forward."
"Hard work, dedication and discipline - these kids will apply that to the rest of their lives," added Councilman Leonard Shryock.
Mayor Luigi Vernola, a 1962 graduate of Norwalk High School, called the championship game against La Serna "the best high school football game I ever saw."
"You guys have a bright future," Vernola told the team. "You know how to work together, suffer together and succeed together."
Head coach Jesse Ceniceros accepted a city proclamation on behalf of the team. In return, the Lancers donated an autographed jersey to the city of Norwalk, which will hang at City Hall.
Team members also received free tickets to Knott's Berry Farm.
In other action, the Norwalk City Council on Tuesday:
*Recognized the winners of its used oil artwork contest, which received 157 entries from Norwalk fifth graders.
Ten winners were chosen and their work will appear in a PSA on Norwalk's cable channel. Winners also received AMC Theater gift cards.
Contest winners include Tracey Arredondo (Cresson Elementary), Yailin Sahagun (Cresson Elementary), Maribel Elizarraras (Lampton Elementary), Leilani Torres (Lampton Elementary), Alyssa Hen (Lampton Elementary), Crystal Vargas (Cresson Elementary), Mariana Larios (Lampton Elementary), David Vargas (Cresson Elementary), Ashley Martinez (Lampton Elementary) and Mia Velarde (Cresson Elementary).
*Appointed Pastor Eddie Rodriguez to the city's Social Services Commission and Jose Rodriguez to the Art in Public Places Committee.
*Moved forward with plans to outlaw smoking at all public facilities and parks, including the grass area outside City Hall.
The ban goes into effect Feb. 6, 2014 and also applies to electronic cigarettes and vaporizors.
After a 90-day warning period, offenders face a $100 fine for a first time offense. Citations increase to $200 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense if committed within a year's time.
*Agreed to permanently remove a crosswalk at Rosecrans and Fidel avenues, outside Norwalk Dairy.
The crosswalk was removed earlier this year during street construction and traffic engineers recommended it not be reinstalled, citing a traffic signal at Shoemaker Avenue one block west.
*Adopted the final version of the Strategic Action Plan, a comprehensive document that highlights Norwalk's goals over the next five years.
Published: Dec. 19, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 36