"It was like a big - very big - very happy family reunion," said Sanger High School Athletic Hall of Fame chairman Brian Penner.

More than 300 Apache fans cheered each time a 2019 inductee was announced and gave several standing ovations during the second annual induction ceremony on May 4 at the community center. 

In fact, the audience was on its feet cheering and applauding most of the night.

"This event really resonates with our 'one town, one team, one tribe'  community," said hall of fame vice chair Tom Nicholson. 

"We have to find a larger venue next year. We've been sold out two years in a row and it's not fair for all the other fans who want to be involved with the event," said Penner. 

Last year the inductee list was limited to coaches and players. This year the list included three coaches - track and field icon Dave Dodson, Sanger's "Mr. Football" Chuck Shidan and Roy Tanimoto who won championships in football and basketball - five players, one of the Apaches' best ever quarterbacks Willie Garcia, Apache and Annapolis super star Cole Herron, football great Ted Torosian, All American water polo player Chris Wallin and the Apaches' strikeout queen Cindy Weibert Fires - the 1950 Valley Championship baseball team - and a major contributor to the Apache sports programs, statistician Ron Blackwood.

Pro football Hall of Fame nominee and Sanger native Tom Flores who was among the inaugural class inducted into the Sanger Hall of Fame brought his entire family to this year's banquet and a meet and greet event the day before the banquet. 

One of the loudest and longest ovations at the banquet came when Flores presented the hall of fame plaque to 2019 inductee Chuck Shidan. 

Roy Tanimoto received several bursts of applause and cheers as he thanked almost everyone in Sanger for the success of the many teams he coached at Sanger High School.

Praise and success were not limited to athletic teams, "What a thrill to be a part of one of the classiest teams I've ever served with, one that puts on an event that just supercedes expectations," said hall of fame committee member Ron Scott. "We know next year's hall of fame banquet will be even bigger and better than this year's. I'm already looking forward to it."

"We especially want to thank the sponsors who made the banquet possible," said Nicholson. 

Hall of Fame Banquet sponsors were Adventist Health, Century 21, Chuck Wagon, Coca Cola, Donaghy Sales Co, EECU, Foundation for Sanger Schools, Gong's Market, Jim Karle Farms, Mattress Land, Morrison Insurance, Nicholson & Associates, Sander's Painting, Sanger Chamber Commerce, Sanger Chevrolet, Sanger City Council, Sanger Historical Society, Sanger Nursery & Hardware, Sanger Tires, Sanger Unified School District, SHS Athletics Dept., Supplement City, Tom Flores Youth Foundation,Valdez's Landscape and Wallin Funeral Homes. 

Supporting sponsors were Arizona Diamondbacks, Belmont Golf Country Club, Bluff Point Golf Course, DiCicco's Restaurant, Divano Roma Furniture, Family Farms, Flower's in a Basket, Fresno FC Soccer, Fresno Grizzlies, Fresno State Gibson Farms, Harris Ranch Restaurant, Harris Ranch Flights by Sam Estes, Kings River Winery, Kings River Casting, Kris's Hair Shop, Los Angeles Dodgers, Las Cabanas Restaurant, Les Schwab Tires, Marechal Winery,Mattress Land/Sleep Fit, Mavericks Screen Printing, McCoy's Restaurants, Merryvale Winery Napa Valley, Oakland Raiders, Pendragon Brewery, Priority Wine Pass, Rawlings Sporting Goods, Running Luck Ranch, Sanger Art, Sanger Herald, Sanger High Activities, Sanger High Booster Clubs, Sanger High Interact Club, School House Restaurant, Selah's Art Designs, San Francisco Giants, Sherwood Forest Golf Course, Southbridge Inn Napa Valley, Stanford University Football, St Louis Cardinals, Supercuts Fresno, Taylor's Refresher Napa Valley, Unlimited Barrels, 

Valley Oak Winery, Waste Management and Webber Real Estate 

The reporter can be contacted by email at sangerherald@gmail.com or by phone at the Herald at (559) 875-2511.

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