Local players made some big plays in Friday's 30th annual Rotary North v. South All Star football game at Veterans Stadium in Merced.
Turlock High's Robert Martinez and Ryan Murphy started and played over half the snaps for the North offensive line, which tallied 185 total yards for the game.
Pitman's Jason Foglia was consistent on the defensive side for the North, adding a sack along with multiple tackles, quarterback hurries and even had a catch while Jacob Mabie of Turlock intercepted a pass from the South with 2:14 left to seal the 15-0 victory and even the series at 15-15.
“Felt good to finally get the ball,” Mabie said out of breath. “To seal the deal and make sure our team won it was awesome, I am just glad I could help. I saw the guys going deep and they crossed and I made sure the ball wasn't thrown inside so I jumped the outside and took off.”
“I am pretty happy and glad I won both all star games and I couldn't wait to take a picture with the trophy and my teammates,” Foglia said after winning both the Lions and Rotary all star games.
The game started off sloppy in the opening quarter for both sides, which produced only a combined 339 total yards of offense for the night.
Boasting a more athletic front seven, the North took advantage of the speed disparity and put the pressure on early, blitzing on multiple occasions and stuffing the running game for the South.
Out of the South's 154 total yards, Central Fresno's Tamar Johnson, finished with 62 of those yards on 10 carries.
“We played outstanding and we had some early opportunities that we didn’t cash in on that could have cost us, but I knew from day one that our defense would be our backbone,” said North head coach David Snapp. “They played great.”
Along with multiple superstars on the defensive front for the North, Ceres' Ramon Coral was one of the stalwarts as he tallied one of the team's three sacks, coming in a critical play in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
After forcing the ball over twice in the first 10 minutes of the contest, the North put together a seven-play drive that was headed by Enochs quarterback Shawn Munoz, who scored a one-yard touchdown with 1:03 in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.
The North forced an interception with under two minutes left and the offense, once again led by Munoz, marched down the field and scored with 58 seconds on a 15-yard run, and also ran in the two-point conversion and the North took the 15-0 lead by the end of the first half.
“They had a big line but the entire time I don't think we let it phase us. We just came in here and wanted it more and hit harder and played faster and we wanted it more,” said Martinez of the lineman’s play.
Turlock's Andrew Lopez carried the ball for a six-yard gain in the first half and after a sack on third down, Foglia's fake punt pass was completed on a fourth down play but he was short of the first-down mark.
“Everyone gets to play a lot and everyone out here did a great job, but yeah they tried using me as much as possible and it was pretty fun,” Foglia said. “The catch was planned but not really, just a fake punt and I caught it, didn't get the first but at least I caught the ball.”
Lopez finished the game with two carries and rushed for 11 yards while Jeff Hynes was in on offense and defense but didn't record any stats.
“It’s a blessing to come out here and play with these guys and make new friends and it's my first interview too by the way,” Martinez said.
As of this moment, Martinez and Mabie will join high school teammates Hynes and Murphy at Modesto Junior College for the upcoming football fall season.
“I am going to play at MJC for now,” Martinez added. “I am trying to transfer one or two years if that is what it takes, I want to become a better football player and get a good education.”
“I am excited,” Mabie added. “I am going to play MJC for now, hope to play defense if all goes well.”