(ORANGE COUNTY)  – Former University of Southern California Rose Bowl champion and SoCal Coyotes assistant coach Todd Marinovich addressed the stark life-threatening realities of substance abuse to freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior football players recently at Dana Hills High School.

From the 2008 class alone, there have been 23 opioid-related deaths.

Marinovich shared his own cautionary tale, wherein drug abuse derailed his brilliant NFL, CFL and Arena career after he was a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Raiders. The 90-minute session included powerful question-and-answer rapport, during which Marinovich pulled no punches.

“Forget football,” Marinovich said. “You’ll be lucky to escape with your life.”

The session was organized by Mike Darnold, grandfather of current USC Rose Bowl champion Sam Darnold, who set Rose Bowl records with five passing touchdowns and 473 total yards in his stunning 52-49 win over Penn State earlier this year.

At one time, Marinovich was just as promising to the NFL as the pristine Darnold – had Marinovich chosen better friends, and never slipped into drug dependence.

The elder Darnold works in student services for the City of Dana Point and Dana Hills High School, which includes solutions to parents and youth to stem the rapidly growing drug epidemic.

Currently Marinovich is preparing Coyote quarterbacks in the Run ‘n’ Shoot offense for their inaugural season in the World Developmental Football League, which will open August 26.

The SoCal Coyotes went undefeated in 2016 for the second time in nine seasons. The most dominant sports brand in Coachella Valley history with nearly 15,000 Facebook likes and followers, the Coyotes are 73-13 lifetime, with four championships since 2012 and a 20-game fall win streak that dates back to 2015.

The Coyotes enjoy a broad array of powerful corporate partners, including the City of Indio – home of Coachella, the nation’s largest outdoor music festival. Indio Councilman Glenn Miller and California State Senator Jeff Stone are vocal Coyote advocates, and their vision of an Indio sports complex includes a new permanent home for the Coyotes.

CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL is a platform for the Coyotes as committed civic servants, who volunteer and support over 100 community programs and agencies across the Coachella Valley. The Coyotes offer an impressive lineup of alternative youth programming, with camps, clinics, symposiums and leadership curriculum that affect over 30,000 youth each year.

REAL MEN READ – The Coyotes outreach to at-risk youth has led to cooperative programs with the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, and law enforcement agencies in four cities. Coyote players and coaches host leadership programs each month in local churches, schools, and juvenile hall.

DISCOVER why The Pro Football Educator, operated by former Denver Broncos GM and two-time Super Bowl winner Ted Sundquist, selected the SoCal Coyotes as America’s #1 Developmental Pro Football Program™.

Faith, family, football is the real mission of the Coyotes – and not surprisingly, something that dates back to the great Vince Lombardi in 1959. The Coyote mission of Building Champions, Building Men™ reaches deep into the development of young athletes as fathers, husbands, and men.

SEVENTY PLAYERS EACH YEAR earn the distinction to ‘Defend the Shield™’ in the uniform of the SoCal Coyotes. Many earn a shot with NFL, CFL or AFL opportunities, and all are expected to graduate into business careers.

For more information, email SVP Ron DiGrandi at ron@thesocalcoyotes.com.

Visit www.facebook.com/thesocalcoyotes.

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