El Modena High School to Honor Military Veterans as Varsity Football Team Kicks Off 2018 Season

ORANGE, CA (August 24, 2018) – The El Modena High School Vanguards, reigning CIF-SS Division 7 Football Champions, will kick off their 2018 season with a home game tonight, on what will also be Military Appreciation Night at Fred Kelly Stadium. The evening will begin with a special pre-game ceremony at 6:45 p.m., followed by the non-conference game between the Vanguards and Woodbridge High School (Irvine) at 7 p.m.

As part of Military Appreciation Night, the National Anthem will be performed by retired Sgt. First Class James Daniels, a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Navy and Marines, who presently serves as El Modena High School’s track coach and varsity girls basketball coach. Presenting the game ball to the referee, prior to kickoff, will be 95-year old retired Lt. Colonel John Russo, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in World War II and the Korean War, whose grandson, Joseph, is an El Modena alumnus and former Vanguard football player. Finally, the honorary team captains for the game will be Noah Gomez and Juan Hernandez, both of whom graduated from El Modena High School in 2017 and recently enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

“I look forward to welcoming fans back to Fred Kelly Stadium, not only to cheer on the Vanguard football team but also to show appreciation to the men and women who serve our country,” said El Modena High School Athletic Director Ed Drzanek. “Military Appreciation Night is a small way the Vanguard Community can come together to thank our active duty military and veterans for all they have given of themselves and sacrificed in service to our nation.”

In support of Military Appreciation Night, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department will do a helicopter flyover, and all active duty military, veterans, and first responders will be asked to stand for acknowledgement by the fans in attendance.


The Orange Unified School District educates approximately 26,000 PreK-12th grade students in the Cities of Orange, Villa Park, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and unincorporated county areas.  In partnership with our community, we provide a safe, equitable, and innovative culture of learning for each scholar to have a competitive EDGE as a leader.