There isn't a better way to formally close the season to a fine high school football season than this:
The 56th Optimist All-Star Football Classic is set for Saturday at Del Oro High School at noon. Tickets are $10 with kids under 8 free. Tickets are only sold at the event.
Some players originally picked pulled out this week do to other conflicts or football fatigue, including lineman Parker Doyle of Granite Bay, receiver Ian Davis of Nevada Union, linebacker Tanner Vallejo of Nevada Union and lineman Garrett Strohmaier of Jesuit.
For the South, the Folsom crew of linemen Dalton Bledsoe, Quincy Capel and Josh Wormley and receiver/defensive back Phillip Carter pulled out, as did Sacramento quarterback Josiah Johnson.
Still, tons of terrific talent.
Look at the quarterbacks. The North is led by Sierra Foothill League rivals and now sudden teammates. Kyle Cota of Nevada Union set Miners passing marks, and Zach LaBar of Del Oro, whose tremendous courage to gut out a playoff game against Elk Grove with a badly strained knee spoke of his grit and leadership.
The South will be quarterbacked by Oak Ridge ace Jason Samuels, whose accuracy is matched by his perfect grades, and Trent Spallas of Franklin, also an honors student and fine leader.
The South team includes defensive end ace Zach Claiborne of Oak Ridge, who led the state with 25.5 sacks and hopes to run into Cota and LaBar a time or two. Then again, the North has Placer defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, who led the region in recruiting mail, to say the least, not to mention Placer defensive end Stone Sander.
How about running the ball? The North will go with Del Oro superback Brandon Monroe, who dazzled and dominated down the stretch of the season. And there's Granite Bay durable back John Cooley and a power burst in Marquise Carter-Petit of Grant.
The South has a bevy of backs in 2,000-yard rushers in Isaiah Williams of Burbank and Robert Frazier of Elk Grove and backs who can run with fury and a but of burst in Isaiah Saunders of Pleasant Grove and Kyran Harris and Steven Rogers of Franklin.
Even the defensive backs are of star quality. The North included Grant safety/receiver Trayvon Henderson and Placer's Pineiro, who led the Sac-Joaquin Section with nine interceptions, and Tyler Winston of Antelope. Winston is also a superb receiver, as is Henderson.
For the South, Marcus Green of Franklin and Keith Marcus of Burbank head the secondary. Jalen Walker can play in the secondary or at receiver.
And there's personality everywhere. The North includes Vanderdoes, who created a hamburger in Auburn called "The Big Eddie" - four quarter-pound patties, four slices of cheese, a fistful of veggies and a requirement to take a 4-hour power nap.
Also for the North, lineman Daren Echeveria of Antelope is as comical as he is talented, known to gulp down a bucket of wings or nuggets before tearing into a bag of chips as a chaser.
The South linemen with personality include Kyle Saxelid of Cosumnes Oaks, who can't talk enough about mechanical engineering at UNLV, his scholarship destination, though others wonder about the casinos. And CBS lineman Vince Johnson is headed to Iowa State on scholarship, reminding that his father, Vincent, played tennis and he plays in the trenches.
The North has the best live arm in the region, too, in Woodcreek defensive back Stephen Nogosek. He's playing his final football game before embarking on a scholarship tour at Oregon to pitch.
And there's a Bear on the loose for the South as in Chris "Bear" Grunsky, a defensive end.
NORTH ROSTERDedric Allen, DL, Inderkum
Tyler Arneson, DL, Granite Bay
Kevin Blueford, LB, Inderkum
Josh Cardoza, LB, Woodland
Marquise Carter-Petit, RB, Grant
Rae Cherry, DL, Antelope
John Cooley, RB, Granite Bay
Max Corry, DL, Casa Roble
Kyle Cota, QB, Nevada Union
Darren Echeveria, OL, Antelope
Andrew Endicott, K/P, Jesuit
Kyle Evanski, OL, Del Campo
Aaron Froidevaux, DL, Whitney
Dominic Giampaoli, WR, Rocklin
Mitchell Gums, OL, Rio Linda
Leonard Hazewood, OL, Antelope
Trayvon Henderson, WR/S, Grant
Hank Humphers, LB, Nevada Union
Justin Hyde, DB, Oakmont
Grant Jansen, FB, Roseville
Zach LaBar, QB, Del Oro
Austin Marks, TE, Nevada Union
Brandon Monroe, RB, Del Oro
Stephen Nogosek, DB, Woodcreek
Michael Okorioke, Antelope, DL
Isaiah Pineiro, DB, Placer
Jordan Powell, DB, Whitney
Ricky Reynolds, OL, Grant
A.J. Samatatau, OL, Del Campo
Stone Sander, DE, Placer
Misi Taifane, OL, Grant
Eric Thomas, DB, El Camino
Abnor Toma, LB, Grant
JJ Tufu, DL, Del Campo
Sam Tupou, DL, Grant
Eddie Vanderdoes, DL, Placer
Jordan Vinson, LB, Rio Americano
Torre Watson, DB, Mira Loma
Tyler Wharton, LB, Del Oro
Tyler Winston, WR/DB, Antelope
Sam Woods, OL, Rocklin
Coaches: Casey Taylor, Mike Alberghini, Reggie Harris, Rob Alberghini, Carl Reed, Toshan Starks, Ronald Richardson.
SOUTH ROSTERConnor Adams, DL/OL, Pleasant Grove
Kareem Ballal, OL, Oak Ridge
DeVonte Castex, LB, Laguna Creek
Curtis Catron, DL, Ponderosa
Joseph Chapman, OL, Oak Ridge
Jason Champman, OL, Oak Ridge
James Cisneros, DL, Pleasant Grove
Zach Claiborne, DL, Oak Ridge
Jaime Cruz, OL, Elk Grove
Edwin Fautua, DL, Burbank
Robert Frazier, RB, Elk Grove
Marcus Green, DB, Franklin
Chris Grunsky, DL, Vista del Lago
Tyree Hanson, LB, Pleasant Grove
Trevor Haro, LB, Elk Grove
Kyran Harris, RB, Franklin
Ahmari Hayes, DB, Davis
Jakeen Hingano, OL, Burbank
Vincent Johnson, OL, Christian Brothers
Cartez Kirby, DL, Sheldon
Patrick Knowles, OL, Rosemont
Louis Macklin, WR, Sacramento
Keith Marcus, DB, Burbank
Ben McFadden, LB, Christian Brothers
Noel Pinnock, OL, Burbank
Sterling Powell, LB, Monterey Trail
Steven Rogers, RB, Frankin
Aaron Ross, DB, Cosumnes Oaks
Jason Samuels, QB, Oak Ridge
Damion Sanders, WR, Franklin
Isaiah Saunders, RB, Pleasant Grove
Kyle Saxelid, OL, Cosumnes Oaks
Riley Simmons, LB, Franklin
Justin Singh, K, Elk Grove
Byron Spain, WR, Oak Ridge
Trent Spallas, QB, Franklin
Viliami Umufuke, DL, Monterey Trail
Jalen Walker, WR/DB, Christian Brothers
Ben Walls, DB, Florin
Berrick Washington, DB, Burbank
Isaiah Williams, RB, Burbank
Deshun Williams, WR, Laguna Creek
Coaches: Joe Cattolico, Mike Johnson, John Hefferman, Jim Rubiales, Jim Hall, Randy Rubiales, David Danielson, Jason Vanderpol, James Pale, Ervin Kendall, Mason Mitchell, Chris Nesbit, Francisco Ragsdale
- Joe Davidson- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
- On Cable: SureWestSports.com
- On Podcast: ESPN1320.net