Turlock High School football fans may recognize longtime announcer Ray Mendonca’s voice, which echoes throughout Joe Debely Stadium on Friday nights, but now, readers can get to know the man behind the microphone. A lifelong Turlock resident, Mendonca’s grandfather moved to the city during the great depression and purchased the family farm. Today, the avid Oakland Athletics, Raiders and Golden State Warriors fan serves as Water Operations Manager for Turlock Irrigation District.
Q: When did you first begin announcing football games for Turlock High School, and what made you want to do it?
A: My dad, Leonard, announced baseball for 30 years at Turlock High, so it’s kind of in my blood. I started announcing the freshmen football games in the early 2000s, and this is my 11th season announcing varsity games. When they first asked me to do it, I figured, “Why not?” I graduated from there and my wife works there, so I thought it was a good way to give back to the community. We have fun up there, and it’s a really good time.
Q: What makes a good football announcer?
A: It’s 100 percent your spotters. An announcer just announces the information that the spotters give them. I’m blessed to have two great spotters – Robert, my brother, is one, and the other is Brad Serpa. They have each team’s roster, and it’s all up to them to help get those kids recognition. We’re there for the kids to get them that recognition and honor of having their name called over the PA system, and I especially try to recognize the kids that maybe don’t get to play as much.
Q: Over the years, has there been one specific moment or game that stood out to you?
A: It was a lot of fun and an honor to announce when my sons were playing. Oh, and during the years when Kevin Kramer and that team were rolling up all the points. That’s when I first started my long touchdown call that I do. During that season, it was exciting and I’d really get into it. I’d say the touchdown call is like the Raiders’ Greg Papa’s touchdown call combined with the soccer announcer Andres Cantor, but on steroids.
Q: What is your Harvest Bowl prediction?
A: I expect a close game, a good hard-fought game. They’re two good teams and the main thing I’d like to see is both teams moving on. There’s nothing better than when both Turlock schools are represented in the playoffs.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Turlock?
A: There’s nothing better than going and getting a wedge salad and a Soul Crusher at Dust Bowl.
Q: What is the last book, television show or movie that captivated you?
A: I don’t really read books – I just wait for the movie to come out. I mainly watch sports, and I like sports movies. I do watch “Ghost Adventures” for entertainment purposes.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: In my lifetime, I have owned over one million baseball cards.