A total of 11 football representatives from Pitman, Turlock, Hilmar and Denair High were selected to compete in this year’s 33rd Annual North-South Rotary Bob Green Football Classic.
Representing Turlock High are Dallin Tilby, Gabe Cordero, Tyler Etharidge, Brandon Flores and Alex Arroyo.
Carter Azevedo and Tristan Crowley of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VI Champion Hilmar High team will represent the Yellowjackets.
Brock Fusi and Alex Baker will be representing the Pitman Pride while Blake Davis of Denair makes a second straight appearance in an all-star game, having already competed in the Lions All-Star game just a week prior.
“Seeing a lot of the same guys from the Lions game but also a lot of new faces and new players so it will be pretty competitive this week,” said Davis. “Just being able to play with all these guys, the speed of the game is faster and some bigger guys, but I know I can play with them so that is what I took from the Lions game to this.”
Davis isn’t the only notable face. Tilby, Cordero, Etharidge and Flores will be joining Davis for back-to-back All-Star appearances.
“Meeting some of the new guys is awesome, some guys from the Lions game I get to hang out with, but there are some new guys as well out there, it’s nice,” said Tilby. “It’s a great opportunity being able to play after the season and met cool guys I probably wouldn’t have before and it is just a blast, so much fun.”
Tilby made a field goal along with three extra points in this past Saturday’s Lions All-Star Football Game.
Tilby, Cordero, Etharidge and Flores were all part of back-to-back undefeated CCC seasons with the ‘Dogs at the varsity level.
Cordero was also the CCC Defensive Player of the Year and earned Defensive Player of the Game during the Lions contest after he finished with half a dozen tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
The Turlock High Bulldogs went 6-0 the past two seasons in the Central California Conference leaving out on top.
Now, some of these ‘Dogs hope to continue their winning ways in this upcoming Rotary All-Star game after a solid performance in the Lions game.
“I think our guys did well in the Lions game because we were all fired up, taking couple months off from high school ball to then all of a sudden we get two games,” said Tilby. “We want to go ball out and just so excited. I think we are going to get the win and we have got some great players, got some smart players and we just need to control the ball game.”
Hilmar saw one of the more improbable playoff runs after squeezing their way into the postseason following a 5-5 regular season record.
The ‘Jackets, led by a herd of standouts including Azevedo and Crowley, made a tremendous run where they toppled three of the top four seeds in the D-V SJS playoff bracket.
This earned them the title of Section Champions as they closed out the tournament with a 42-13 win over league foes, Modesto Christian.
Now Crowley and Azevedo are looking for one final time to shine before heading off to college. Crowley is hoping to continue playing football at Merced College while Azevedo plans to hang up his cleats after this game.
“I think it’s going to be a good time. I think we are trying to have fun and prepare for the next level and just get some new friends,” said Crowley. “This game should give me better preparation moving forward and I think playing with big time athletes will show me if I can do it or not. What would be a good day is maybe throw some touchdown passes maybe run one in and show everybody what I got.”
Baker is a two-year varsity starter for the Pride and was part of the 2016 monumental season that saw the Pride win their first nine games for the first time in program history. Brock Fusi was also on that same team and was consistently a starter during this past 2017 season.
“It’s a privilege and honor to be able to play with all these other schools,” said Baker. “It’s cool to be here because everyone is good so there is competition all the time and just excited to meet new people. We expect to win.”
In 2016, Pitman ended up going 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the CCC, earning a berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I playoff bracket.
Saturday’s game will see the Sac-Joaquin Section face off against the Central Section, which consists of mostly Fresno or surrounding area schools. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. from Veterans Stadium in Merced.
“I am hoping for the same outcome and I think we will come out with the win since we have a lot of guys that can play good football,” Davis added.