NIPOMO, Calif. - A new tradition has come to Nipomo.
"For anybody that drives down Tefft St., especially the students coming down down Tefft on Fridays, they know once the see these flags, they know it's time for Nipomo football," said Nipomo freshman coach Oscar Magallon.
The black flags feature a cardinal-colored block "N," representing the logo of the Nipomo High School football team.
They are now displayed in Old Town Nipomo on W. Tefft St. between Carillo St. and Thompson Ave. each Friday the varsity team is scheduled to host a home game.
"That way, people that don't really attend high school games can kind of ask, what are those flags for? What's going on? That means there's a hometown football game Friday night," said Magallon.
Magallon, a longtime area football coach, came up with the idea after seeing American flags displayed on holidays by the Nipomo VFW Post 10978.
"When the VFW started putting up these American flags, I drove down and I thought, this is cool and this is awesome to see all these flags up on a holiday and after a while after seeing the flags, I thought it would be pretty cool to have some flags go up for the football team and the high school," said Magallon.
Soon Magallon starting making calls to put this idea into action.
"Pretty much as soon as I made the call, everybody said yup, yup, we're in, what do we need to do?" said Magallon. "We got it done."
Magallon said he received help from community members Deborah Mansfield, Rebecca Barks, Richard Malvarose and others.
Nipomo principal John Denno is thrilled to see Nipomo Titans spirit spill out from the campus and into the neighboring community.
"We want to continue to build a culture of community, both on our campus and outside our campus." Denno said. "We are the community school and to see the community embrace that even further by decorating downtown I think has been incredible."
Denno adds home football games are an excellent way to bring the community together, all in support of a common interest.
"I think Friday nights are still big in a community of this size," said Denno. "We get a great attendance at our football games and I think, whether it's a fundraiser or a community event, it's all hands on deck and it's really good to see that level of support."
For Nipomo players, seeing the flags on game days is providing extra encouragement.
"I think it's cool if we can get everyone in our community to come and support us," said senior wide receiver Gage Wynn. "It makes you feel like your whole community is behind you and you're not just playing for a team, you're playing for everyone here."
Magallon notes the flags give Nipomo a sort of "Texas-like" atmosphere, where entire towns rally in support of their local team.
It probably shouldn't come as a big surprise that its happening in Nipomo, which has long been known for its passionate support of football, particularly at the youth level.
"If you ever go out to a Nipomo Cowboys game on a Saturday, you'll know how important football is to this town," said Magallon, who also serves as president of the Nipomo Youth Football League. "The park is full of people. Football is big in this town. This is a strong community with a lot of football families."
In addition to football, the long-term idea for the flags is to also display them for different sports teams, plus other significant events held on campus.
"I'm all for it," said Magallon. "Any sport that is with the high school that we can put the flags up and come out here and do it. It's just to support the high school, support the town, the community and everything."
Denno is also very receptive to the idea of displaying the flags to create more interest and visibilty for other school-related events and activities.
"That would be great," said Denno. "I think anything that continues to build upon that pride in our community and really trying to get our community both aware and involved. I want our community to be know that there's an open invitation and they're always welcome on campus."
Denno wants those who helped with the flag project to know how thankful he and the school is for the thoughtful gesture.
"We are very appreciative," Denno said. "This is all initiated by them and they made this happen and it's great. We just want to continue to foster that support we receive from them."
The flags have been displayed four times this season. They'll be put up once more during the regular season, and hopefully into the playoffs should the team advance to the playoffs.
Magallon said the reaction so far has been extremely positive.
"People are really happy and a lot of people are thanking me and thanking everybody who put it together, saying this is so awesome for our town," said Magallon. "Everything that's being done for our community, just a simple flag being put up to support the kids and the high school has meant a lot to a lot of people."