Nowhere in California is there any more intense rivalry than in San Diego County where everyone from the athletes to the parents to the coaches and the pundits...argue the virtues of the suburban north county schools against the urban and south bay/county schools. Besides the San Diego High School Sports Foundation's donating the proceeds to county sports programs, the rivalry almost seemed the theme in this year's 12th Annual Alex Spanos All-Star Football Classic, played on Friday, July 12, at Mesa College.
Prior to the game, Helix's Gordon Wood, the South coach, hinted he had a few tricks up his sleeve for the talented North squad. Unfortunately, Reggie Bush, Wood's all-everything junior running back and track star, was on the sidelines, watching a contest he hopes to star in...next year.
When after holding the North on its first possession, Wood tried an end around that lost eight yards...and tried a failed fumble-rooskie. The tone was set for what would be a defensive contest. In the end, however, the game came down to three or four crucial plays and the North executed them better, while Wood acknowledged some questionable coaching decisions.
Fallbrook's Ryan Plackemeier, a place-kicker headed to Wake Forest, made amends for not knowing his holder on a missed extra point by kicking the game winning field goal late in the fourth quarter to lift the North to a 16-13 victory before over 4,000 raucous fans at the junior college in Kearny Mesa.
The stellar defense by the North was led by Aaron Singh of Carlsbad (BYU) and San Diego State bound Reggie Grigsby (El Camino), the game's Co-MVP. Grigsby had three tackles, broke up two passes and had a perfectly timed mid-field fourth quarter interception plus a 33-yard return that set up the Plackemeier field goal.
For the South, Mission Bay's Scott White, the 6-3, 230-pound linebacker who will hunt running backs and tight ends for Washington this fall, had six tackles and two sacks while Weber State bound QB Ian Pizzaro from Montgomery was brilliant in defeat. Pizzaro directed both South scoring drives to garner the Co-MVP for the losing team.
Note: Thanks to correspondent Harold Abend for providing this report.
The South took control in the second half to win the 43rd edition of the event, 23-10, over the North. Steven Berneking from Aliso Niguel of Aliso Viejo booted a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to give the South a 13-10 lead. Just over two minutes later, the South's advantage was up to 20-10 after a 10-yard pass from Colt Brennan of Mater Dei to Akilah Lacey of Westminster.
Mission Viejo's Robbie Dubois had the South's other touchdown and Berneking had two other field goals to account for the team's scoring. The North's lone touchdown came on a 31-yard pass from Kevin Brown of El Modena to Adam Stayberg of Villa Park.
Attendance was reported at 5,500 at Orange Coast College of Costa Mesa.
San Gabriel Valley
West Covina South Hills running back Marcus Nolan was the most impressive player in the 23rd National Football Foundation San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame Game played on Friday, July 12 at Arroyo High in El Monte. Nolan had 72 yards rushing on 14 carries and led the East to a 12-7 win over the West.
After Claremont's Esteban Lopez kicked field goals of 47 and 28 yards in the first quarter for the East, the game was scoreless until early in the fourth quarter when the East added a touchdown on a nine-yard scoring pass from Brian Golper of Arcadia to Darius Reid of Bishop Amat. The West came back on a 24-yard TD pass from Martin Soto of Schurr to Alex Koplin of L.A. Loyola. It's final two possessions, however, resulted in no first downs.
No attendance was reported.