DP-San Marcos game is a tribute to Coach Hess

Jeff Hesselmeyer would want it this way…

Thursday night’s clash between rivals San Marcos and Dos Pueblos would be all about football.

An outright city championship and a CIF playoff berth is on the line for the host Chargers (2-7, 2-1) in the Channel League finale at Scott O’Leary Stadium.

A San Marcos (1-8, 0-3) win would create a three-way tie for the city title.

But there’s more to this night — and future DP-San Marcos games. It will be a tribute to Coach Hesselmeyer.

The popular coach and teacher passed away in late July  — just days before the start of practice at San Marcos.

Hesselmeyer was entering his third year with the Royals. He started his coaching and teaching career at Dos Pueblos and was there for more than 20 years.

“We’re dedicating the game to Hess,” said DP Athletic Director Dan Feldhaus, who played for Hesselmeyer at Dos Pueblos.

Three coaching colleagues and close friends of Hesselmeyer — Dick Mires, Joby Nunez and Chris Dockerty — will participate in the pre-game coin-flip, and DP football alumni will form a tunnel for the team to run through after halftime.

“I think there will be a lot of people who’d want to come out and pay tribute to coach Hesselmeyer,” said Debbie Dulawan, one of the organizers of the tribute. “Those of us who knew him — his players — absolutely loved him. He was absolutely a good guy. Of those of us who were his friend, he was an amazing friend.”

A “Battle of the Goodland” perpetual trophy will be presented to the winning school and a Jeff Hesselmeyer MVP Trophy will be awarded to the game’s outstanding player, as voted on by members of the media and school officials.

Additionally, at halftime, DP will pay tribute to alumni who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military.

“It would be a rare opportunity to step forward and honor our veterans on the day before the holiday,” said Larry Vranish, a retired DP administrator who is part of the game organizing group.

Derek Dallmeyer, who played for Hesselmeyer at San Marcos, gave a fitting tribute at the summer public memorial service for his coach that is appropriate for Thursday’s game.

Dallmeyer said: “Every Friday night, for many years to come, when the lights at Valley Stadium or Scott O’Leary field turn on, Hess’ light will shine on the players and coaches, Royals and Chargers, for generations to come.”

Let the light shine on Thursday night.