Downey High School Brings Home Coveted District Trophy in Downey Unified Esports Championship

The Team Swept the Two-Time Champions, Warren High School, 3-0 in the Third Annual Esports Tournament that Reinforced S.T.E.A.M. and 21st Century Learning Skills

DOWNEY, Calif., (December 7, 2020) – Downey Unified, in partnership with the Carrot Group, announced Downey High School as the winner of the third annual Overwatch Downey Unified Esports High School Championship presented by PacificWest. This is the first time Downey High School has won this tournament against rival Warren High School. Due the COVID-19 restrictions at the campuses, the Tournament and Championship were held completely virtual.

Members of The Home Slices, the winning team for Downey High School included: Gio Aguirre (Sophomore), Brandon Astudillo (Junior), Andrew Escobedo (Sophomore), Nathan Ha (Senior), David Miranda (Senior) and Amado Necochea (Sophomore). The coaches were David Krauss and George Beaver.

The winning team was announced after the virtual final match streamed on on Dec. 7, 2020, where the top teams from Downey and Warren High Schools faced off for the grand prize. This final match had more than 1,000 unique views, one of the highest in the world for a single high school match. A recorded version is available at The best-of-five final match was the culmination of a six-week program, managed by HighSchool.GG, where students formed six-member teams and competed against the other teams within each school. Six teams from Downey High School and seven teams from Warren High School competed in the Downey Unified Esports League (DUEL). Students from Columbus High School were also part of the competing teams at each school.

DUEL is part of Downey Unified’s MADE Initiative, a College and Career Readiness program headed by Director, John Harris. The goal of MADE is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to achieve their post-secondary educational and career goals, all while being supported with the learning environment to do so.

“We are thrilled for Downey High School and I am proud of how our students worked together over the course of this six-week tournament to ultimately triumph during the championship match,” stated Harris. “This tournament embodies everything we are trying to do with our students to align with our district’s vision to ensure they are college and career ready, globally competitive, and citizens of strong character. As this is still the first and only high school esports program in the region with an integrated career exploration and workforce development component, we are proud to provide this innovative program to help our students learn and grow.”

The objective of DUEL is to demonstrate to students how their interest in video gaming could turn into prospective career opportunities, all while addressing a positive approach to healthy competition including teamwork, leadership, resilience and problem solving. All participating students have partaken in a virtual Workforce Development session from educational partners such as Survios, Steel Sports, Orange Coast College as well as leading game designers. All students who participated in DUEL are also eligible to enroll in two out of three free online Game Design courses, each worth three transferable graded college credits, offered by Orange Coast College.

“Congratulations to Downey High School for showing great teamwork and taking home the coveted district esports trophy,” said Alan Zack, President of Carrot Group. “This third annual esports tournament was particularly special this year because it was the one program students could still do during these isolating times when all other programs are on hold due to COVID-19. The participating students showed tremendous perseverance, collaboration, and digital literacy; all important and needed skills. Now, more than ever, we need programs like this to unite students, build their confidence, and help them explore career opportunities.

Each member of the winning team received a grand prize package which included a customized trophy, a video gaming accessories package from industry leading SteelSeries, a 24” gaming monitor from Lenovo, and a championship ring from Jostens. These students will also be meeting with top game designers as well as receiving an all-expense paid trip to a one-week Game Design Bootcamp. Additionally, Downey High School received the winner’s trophy that will be showcased in the main office and a $1,000 gift certificate towards computer supplies.

About the Downey Unified School District
The Downey Unified School District provides a comprehensive curriculum supporting three high schools, four middle schools, 13 elementary schools and one adult school. The district is committed to developing all students to be self-motivated learners and productive, responsible, and compassionate members of an ever-changing global society. Our highly qualified staff foster meaningful relationships with students, parents, and the community while providing a relevant and rigorous curriculum in facilities that advance teaching and learning. It is the vision of Downey Unified to have all students graduate with a 21st Century education that ensures they are college and career ready, globally competitive and citizens of strong character. Learn more at

About Carrot Group
Carrot Group is the leading organization engaging, cultivating, and celebrating young innovators to solve real-world problems using science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. The highly creative and fully customizable programs drive impact and spark a passion for discovery. Carrot Group designs programs for preschool children to college students through the belief that the power of competition inspires innovation, learning, and creativity. The critically acclaimed innovation challenges, conferences, esports, and tours reward dynamic thinking, perseverance, cooperation, imagination, and ingenuity. Learn more at