Super Bowl events: Boyle Heights' Salesian High to host NFL's Play Football Family Festival

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Friday, January 28, 2022
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Salesian High in Boyle Heights has history up in the rafters, and it will now be part of this year's Super Bowl history as host of the NFL's Play Football Family Festival.

BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There will be a lot going on in Southern California surrounding Super Bowl LVI - more than just the game at SoFi Stadium. A Catholic high school in Boyle Heights will host the 2022 Play Football Family Festival.

About 10 miles northeast from the bright lights of SoFi Stadium, there's one venue that feels a little more like where every professional career started.

"That's what I'm most excited about as the head football coach here that, out of everyone, they chose us," said Anthony Atkins, the head coach for Salesian High School's varsity football team.

Salesian High, the all-boys Catholic school in Boyle Heights, has history up in the rafters and now it's part of Super Bowl history, too. It will host the NFL's Play Football Family Festival, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12, the day before the big game.

"I feel like it's gonna be a great event for the community, for Boyle Heights, in order to get them more excited and learn more about the game of football," said student-athlete Jeffery Perez.

"It's always fun to see that surprise and see a look in these kids' eyes. And I know as a former player myself, you know as you get older, the parents start to know who you are a little more than the kids do," said Roman Oben, the NFL vice president of football development.

Parents are welcome, and while families need to register for the event, it is free. They plan to use the power of big-time players to help mentor, coach and even just have fun with the kids. The goal being to help grow the game, addressing as well why growth is challenging.

"We have critical discussions about football participation, trying to alleviate some anxiety on the moms about letting their kids play, some of those sort of things," said Oben.

And while Salesian has never hosted the NFL, it knows a few of its players who have helped guide today's athletes.

"Offseason all those guys come back, the old college players that's in college right now and the ex-NFL players. They break bread with the football team. They run around and run routes," said Atkins.

Routes on the field and paths beyond it.

"I want to know the steps they took and the roles they played in different situations," said student-athlete Jakiel Kendricks. "I just really want to take a lot of advice."