SAN DIEGO -
A local teen with Down syndrome was crowned homecoming king Friday during a football game at his high school.
Several popular athletes at Crawford High School took their names out of the running and gave up their chance, giving 18-year-old senior Ivan Mendoza the title.
At halftime of Friday's game against University High School, Mendoza, who has severe Down syndrome, was crowned while dressed in a black tuxedo.
Just before he was crowned, Mendoza hopped inside a convertible and rode around the field with the homecoming queen, all while hundreds of supporters cheered from the stands. One group in the stands held signs that read "We love Ivan."
Before the ceremony, Mendoza told 10News he was very excited about being named Crawford High's homecoming king.
Several popular athletes withdrew from the homecoming court so that Mendoza would receive the incredible recognition, and they told 10News they were more than happy to do it.
"[I] felt Ivan deserved it because he's a really good kid and he's always happy. He's talkative and outgoing and he deserves it more than I would," said Crawford High School senior Kassey Marcus.
Senior Yoel Turcios added, "We just decided to drop out or I decided to drop out because it's just… to see someone win, especially him … to get the chance to win, not a lot of people get the chance to win … I don't know, it's just great to see him win."
Mendoza ran unopposed, but Marcus and Turcios said even if they ran against him, Mendoza would have won, hands down, because he's so popular at school.
Mendoza will attend the homecoming dance as king on Saturday night.