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LOS ANGELES — Football has long been the athletic stepchild at inner-city Crenshaw High School. Trophy cases are crammed with basketball awards. Gym walls are lined with hoops championship flags.

But the football team is undefeated this season and headed for the California state championship bowl game this weekend, and the coach attributes part of the success to an unlikely off-field source: rapper Snoop Dogg.

Nine of this year’s Crenshaw High School Cougars went through the 5-year-old Snoop Youth Football League, representing the first crop of varsity players to cut their teeth in the program. The league has produced standouts at other schools, but none has more players or a better record than Crenshaw.

The league has made Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, a savior of sorts for football in an impoverished area of Los Angeles where gangs roam many of the streets.

“It is more of an advantage to have kids who played in the Snoop Dogg league,” coach Robert Garrett said. “They also have the experience, the fundamentals and the attitude that guys who started from scratch don’t have.”

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