Top left: Venice High players Fernando Redenzo (#94) and Dion Moore (#3) field a pass in the Rams Fun Zone.

Top middle: Venice songstress Lacey Kay Cowden gets the crowd ready for some football

Top right: Venice High School Principal Oryla Wiedoeft congratulates Gondoliers coach Angelo Gasca on being named the L.A. Rams’ High School of the Week as Rams legends Tom Mack and Orlando Pace look on. Gasca is joined by Venice High quarterback Luca Diamont (#7), running back Justin Cauley (#5) and lineman Mina Meawad (#53).

Left bottom: L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin joins Rams greats Jack Youngblood, Tom Mack and Orlando Pace in throwing the switch to light the Venice sign in blue and gold. It’s official: Welcome back, Los Angeles Rams!

Middle right: Rams cheerleaders Zandra T. (left) and Lynette F. fire up the crowd with Rams mascot Rampage.

Bottom right: A helmet signed by Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson.

Photos by Ted Soqui

By Gary Walker

Gridiron greats of the Los Angeles Rams’ past joined members of this year’s Venice High School Gondoliers football team last Friday for a “Venice Welcomes Back the Rams” block party at Windward Plaza.

Former Rams defensive end Jack Youngblood (1971-84) and offensive linemen Tom Mack (1966-78) and Orlando Pace (1997-08) — each a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame — joined Rams General Manager Kevin Demoff and L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin for a ceremonial relighting of the Venice sign in blue and gold.

“It’s great to see generations of football passed down from [Mack, Youngblood and Pace] to future Hall of Famers from the Venice High School football team,” said Remoff, who gave the Gondoliers players tickets to the Rams home opener at the Coliseum against the Seattle Seahawks.

Venice High School football coach Angelo Gasca said being on stage with Rams greats brought back memories of his playing days.

“I watched Youngblood and Mack play as a kid. They were our heroes and they inspired
us to become football players,” Gasca said.

“As a lineman myself, it was really inspirational seeing the Hall of Fame linemen and how big they were,” added Venice High defensive lineman Charlie Capiti (#75).

The block party organized by the Venice Chamber of Commerce also included live music and a Rams Fun Zone with passing and tackling simulations for kids.

— Gary Walker