James Peterson of Turlock High is coming off his best season to-date as the head coach for the Bulldog football program and his recent success didn’t go unnoticed after he was named the head coach for the North squad in the 32nd annual Rotary Football Classic this upcoming weekend.
“It’s It is an honor to be coaching the Rotary all-stars,” said Peterson. “A lot of talent, a lot of thoroughbreds and I see there are a lot of nice guys out here that we have seen throughout the year, great group of kids to coach.”
The North squad will be comprised of the Sac-Joaquin Section schools while the South squad is made up primarily of Central Section schools.
Peterson also had five of his players from this past season selected to play, with Nicolas Berry serving as an honorary captain as he currently recovers from offseason surgery.
Devan Bass of Pitman will also be joining the squad as the lone representative from the Pride.
Mustafa Noel-Johnson and Dom Silva were scheduled to play in the Lions All-Star game but were unable to and are slated to play in this game along with Danny Velasquez and Leo Roa, who both were vital contributors for the South squad in the Lions All-Star victory last Saturday.
Velasquez, a two-time Central California Conference Most Valuable Player was also the MVP of the Lions All-Star game this past weekend from Tracy after he was responsible for all four touchdowns, leading the way in a come from behind second half rally.
Velasquez and Bass were also selected as the co-Players of the Year for the Journal’s 2016-17 fall season.
Noel-Johnson and Silva were all first team members of the 2016 All Journal team.
“Velasquez was a great player but the number one thing we had on this team was leadership,” said Peterson. “Not just Danny, we had guys who would put a teammate in place if that is what it took to stay in line; we had to on game night and that is what we demanded and the team took care of on the field.”
The Bulldogs went 9-3 in 2016 and hoisted the CCC title for the first time since 2003. They also took down their crosstown rivals in Pitman for the third consecutive year.
In the Pride’s first 11 games in 2016, Bass amounted 1,036 rushing yards on just 125 carries, averaging 8.3 yards per carry while scoring 15 touchdowns on the ground and 19 total TDs.
Bass also had five 100-plus rushing yard performances after 11 games and had a total of 1,597 all-purpose yards, averaging 145 per game.
The Rotary game is scheduled to take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday from Veterans Stadium in Merced.
“I have met the coaches from the South team and that is a great group of guys but we will push the team aspect of being a family and team,” Peterson added. “It will be tough since we only have a week, but I will push since it’s what helped us be successful last season.”