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Ron Clark and Brandon Farrell

Zumwalt Ford owner Ron Clark, left, presents St. Helena head football coach Brandon Farrell with a check for $1,500 as part of the company's longstanding donation program with the school.

Christmas came early this year for the St. Helena High football team.

Last week, Zumwalt Ford continued its longstanding tradition of donating $50 per home touchdown scored back to the program. Zumwalt Ford owner Ron Clark presented head coach Brandon Farrell with a check for $2,300, accounting for the 30 touchdowns the Saints scored this fall and the 16 they scored last year.

“We do it for the kids,” Clark said over the phone on Monday. “We do it because I think it’s the right thing to do. I had great sponsors in high school when I was in Vallejo, so we’ve got to turn around and do the same thing.”

The money will be used specifically for football equipment, which can often run in the thousands of dollars.

“We really appreciate Zumwalt Ford and their support,” Farrell said over the phone on Monday. “We’re constantly looking to improve our program and we’re in a very unique place where the community helps support us a lot.”

Farrell said that he and Clark have developed a friendly banter over the years about the number of touchdowns the Saints score. Farrell said that Clark jokes around that he wishes the Saints would go for more field goals but added that the back-and-forth is all in good fun.

Clark attends Saints home games frequently and said that while he enjoys the events, he sometimes has to avoid looking at the scoreboard.

“I go to some of the games and it’s really cool, until about the fifth touchdown, then it becomes very embarrassing,” Clark said with a laugh.

Added Farrell, “There’s never a time where Zumwalt Ford isn’t supportive.”

Clark played baseball in college and has a track record of giving back to sports in the community. Along with supporting the football team, Zumwalt Ford has sponsored a St. Helena Little League team, St. Helena High School Grad Night, the high school choir, the local Future Farmers of America chapter, and St. Helena bocce.

The Saints went 7-5 this season and won five of their eight home games. Their season ended in the quarterfinals of the North Coast Section Div. 5 playoffs in a 49-28 loss to Salesian.

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Sports Reporter