(KCBS) - Earlier this week, Benicia High School announced that it planned to charge students to play after-school sports or it would have to cut the program. Today, a Bay Area semipro football team has announced a fundraising effort to help students play sports without forking over money from their own pockets.
KCBS reporter Holly Quan says the NorCal Lawmen will collect money for Benicia High during its game this Friday against the Modesto Raiders at Kezar Stadium.
Daly City Native Joe Coca works as a consultant by day, but on weekends he is fullback and GM for the NorCal Lawmen, champions of the Golden State Amateur Football League.
He said dreams of turning pro begin in high school.
"We all have our careers," he said. "Football for a lot of us isn't in our future, except for at this level. If we can help make kids' education come along, if we can help bring athletics into their life, then that's our goal."
"We're fortunate enough to have an opportunity to play the game, have good jobs to support us playing the game," Coca said. "If we can give a little bit back to the education of our children and our community, that's our goal."
Coca told KCBS sports are important for teens, even those not planning to pursue sports professionally.
"Kids want to play sports. They want to be involved in sports. If we can help them get an opportunity to do so, that's our goal," he said. "Get on a football field, get on a softball field, get on a volleyball court and be able to play organized sports."
He told KCBS things should not be this way. "If it takes the community to have to come out and raise funds to keep our education alive, then we have a problem."
30 uniformed Benicia High football players will greet spectators at the gates, helmets in hand to collect donations.
"The games are free," Coca said. "Due to our non-profit status, we don't charge at the gate at Kezar, so we'll be looking strictly for donations just to the school. 100 percent of the proceeds are going to Benicia High School's athletic program."
Kickoff is at seven o'clock.
The Modesto Raiders are "actually one of our biggest rivalries of the year, so it's guaranteed to be a hard hitting game," said Coca.