The state's second oldest all-star game (the statewide Shrine game in Los Angeles is 51 years old) went off on Saturday, July 20, with most of the attention centered on the venue.
Grizzlies Stadium, used as the home diamond for the Fresno Grizzlies' AAA baseball team, was configured for football for the first time ever and a strong crowd of 5,517 saw the City squeek by the County, 21-20.
Kick returns helped decide the 48th edition of the series as both teams scored once each on a return. The City's Ronnie Warsinger, who played last fall at Bullard of Fresno, came through with a 75-yard punt return with just 1:07 left that stood up as the game-winning score. Leonard Davis of Dos Palos had the County's kick return TD with a 45-yarder on a punt.
Davis' Dos Palos teammate, record-breaking running back Kenny James, was part of perhaps the most exciting play of the night when he threw a 50-yard halfback pass to Billy Jack Erdman (Clovis) for a County touchdown. The City defense, however, was able to hold the County to two field goals on other drives.
Santa Rosa Kiwanis
It would be easy to say that the North Bay League all-stars salvaged a 21-20 victory over the Sonoma County League since the winning touchdown was a 39-yard run by Mike Salvage of Elsie Allen with 3:22 left. But Salvage's score had to be followed by a two-point conversion, otherwise it would have been a 20-19 loss instead of a win.
On the key play, NBL quarterback Cordel Webb rolled out and tossed a pass to tight end John Kelly, who grabbed the ball for the key two-point conversion.
The game, held at Santa Rosa Junior College's Bailey Field, featured strong running from the North Bay League team and excellend passing from the Sonoma County League.
Maurice White (Rancho Cotate) had a 50-yard TD run for the NBL in the second quarter and wound up with 18 carries for 135 yards. Chris Magallon (also Rancho Cotate) added 45 yards on 11 carries and had one TD.
For the SCL, Steve Pearson (Casa Grande, Petaluma) was the player to watch. He caught two TD passes and finished with eight catches for 104 yards. Pearson's second TD came on a 12-yard toss from Jesse Watkins (Casa Grande) early in the fourth quarter and gave the SCL a 20-13 lead.
No attendance figure in the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat was reported.